Ah, Chuck E. Cheese. How you give me both pleasure and pain.
"Pleasure? From Chuck E. Cheese?" you may ask.
Yes, pleasure! You just show up for your kid's birthday party (Ben will turn seven in a few days). Have you made a cake? Cleaned the house? Thought about the food you'll serve? Figured out how to entertain the kids for two or three hours? Bought the finest small plastic toys imported from China to fill goodie bags? Bought party decorations? Decorated the house? No? You haven't done any of that? Well, that's totally fine! The Giant Rat's people will do all this for you. Technically, they won't clean your house, but then, you're not having company over for the party, and you won't have a pack of young children to clean up after. Yes, indeed. The Chuck party is the lazy parent's salvation.
The pain, of course, comes from having to spend two or three hours inside a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. It's not even so much the jumbo animatronic animals on stage—those were entertaining in that Ben and a couple of his pals hung out on stage, manhandling the beasts and their musical instruments, and nary a peep was uttered by the employees. So they didn't get busted—but when the music stopped suddenly, Ben froze like the cops had just caught him stealing animatronic jewels, much to the amusement of Flea and JT. We adults also chatted about what sort of shenanigans might transpire after closing, when it's just the animatronic vermin. "Chuck E. Cheese After Dark," said...either Flea or JT, I forget which one. It's highly possible that CEC After Dark is one of those "gentlemen's clubs," if you catch my drift. The foxy duck in the magenta lamé miniskirt? Hot. Here's one thing I like about JT and Flea: Even though Ratsopalooza is an awfully noisy place, these women both laugh so heartily (nay, almost uncontrollably) that you're gonna have a fun time wherever you are.
Speaking of lazy parents, guess who forgot to bring a camera? That's right. La famille Tangerine neglected to document the festivities. We'll have a do-over Sunday, when we have a small family party. Oh, crap, I should have maybe baked that cake tonight. Eh, I'll get to that in the morning. Worst-case scenario, the cake mix goes in the cupboard and I'll buy a damn cake in the afternoon.
This is a crappy post. What will make it better is audience participation, clearly. So tell me: If you could be seven years old again, what is the one thing you'd want most for your birthday?