The Cult of Chuck

Ah, Good Friday– that awkward, end-of-week holiday on which nothing actually happens (for heathens like us, anyway), but no one has school or work, and the pressure is on to make some magical family memories. This would have been no big deal if we lived in a place with a normal climate, but we live in Ohio, where it was 70 degrees yesterday, will be 70 degrees again by Sunday, but right now, it’s 39, because fuck your whimsical outdoor plans.

Even so, you may reason– there are museums! Libraries! Art galleries! Live theater! Cleveland is a bustling metropolis of education and wit!

And I would be the first person to admit that this is so. But I would also be the first person to admit that when exposed to such culture, my children tend to interpret all educational placards as reading PLEASE TOUCH! DEFINITELY YOURS TO MANHANDLE! Besides, we burned through all the museums during the winter months, and even my dinosaur-obsessed five-year-old has grown tired of the Natural History Museum.

So that’s how we ended up at Chuck E. Cheese’s today.

I am proud to say that so far in their short lives, I have managed to take my children to Chuck E. Cheese’s only twice. The first time was essentially an accident– I made the mistake of stopping into the Michael’s next door for some embroidery floss (which Rosie also believes is hers to manhandle, usually resulting in me pushing a hopelessly tangled wad of floss under a display with my toe and running for the exit before being shamed by more conscientious crafters), and the siren song of Chuck was too sweet to ignore.


Come to me, my minions!

Today, we actively chose to participate in this debauchery, and I wish I had something terrible to report, but–

You guys, Chuck E. Cheese’s is actually kind of fun.

I mean, there are creepy animatronic robots there that are always blinking at you in a way that makes you think they might be hitting on you. But it’s not like the weird, dark speak-easy atmosphere I seem to remember from my own youth (unless my parents were taking me to some sort of weird, knock-off Chuck E.’s). I found myself getting way too invested in both the shooting-baskets game and the knocking-down-clowns game, and the girls mostly entertained themselves. Hell, Rosie didn’t even need any tokens, she just enjoyed gleefully mashing the buttons on games that weren’t even in service.

So it wasn’t exactly the kind of life-long heartwarming family tableau that holidays are supposed to conjure up, but we all had fun, nobody fought, and we ate probably unwise amounts of pizza. We came home with prizes of immediately disposable plastic snakes and starfish, and Rosie napped for the first time in weeks. It wasn’t a great Friday, but it was a good Friday.

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