Weekend Nightmare Relived: Return to Chuck E Cheese

Jeff VanderMeer • April 26th, 2009 @ 10:24 am • Culture, Photos

Some of you may remember the Chuck E Cheese tale of horror, involving my stepdaughter Erin. Well, for the first time since Erin was nine (she’s 23 now), I set foot in Chuck E Cheese again…this time with Erin, Ann, son Jason, and Mr. R (Riley, our grandson).

Would it be as horrific an experience as the first time?

We approached cautiously. Note the exhausted employee leaning dejectedly against a column, unable to summon the energy to even go to her car.

Ominous sans serif block letters, reminiscent of Soviet-era architecture.

Inside: the horror show as I remember it. Crowded. Sweaty. Lots of weird little people running around who can’t fully control their own motor functions.

Clearly, Erin was also beginning to have flashbacks…

Mr. R, oddly, since he’s usually rather observant, seemed oblivious to any potential strangeness.

The weird-ass poster didn’t bother Mr. R at all.

No, Mr. R just went right on phoning his friends.

Oblivious to the Mao/Rat Warhol/Soviet mural propaganda posters on the walls.

Mr. R happily smashed small dinosaurs with his bare hands.

Looming over all, the fascist who had created this petty little kingdom of flashing lights, ticket dispensers, and cacophony, the dictator himself.

Still, Mr. R had a point when he told me that this might be the only place that this guy…

…and this guy would be caught dead almost hanging out together.

Mr. R also pointed out that we’d had a good day. We’d gone to Erin’s for her garage sale.

Brought Mr. R his grilled cheese sandwich.

Rummaged through Erin’s books.

Found a few we’d bought. (Although I pointed out to Mr. R these were mainly books we’d given Erin!)

Found also a night-stealth knife, an Apollo Sunshine button, a weird commemorative coin, and, er, some kind of police person’s outfit.

Then found a good pub while Mr. R took his nap.

And found an interesting juxtaposition.

Although Mr. R told me that while he didn’t particularly care for the mosquito-infested park I’d suggested after his nap, the tree was cool.

…especially the face in the trunk.

…and he didn’t mind being tall, either.

But much as Mr. R liked the kingdom of hell on earth known as Chuck E Cheese, he much preferred being home and riding his dinosaur in front of hippies while we all partook of the magic berries at Erin’s party. “Sweet is sour. Sour is sweet. Fascists are Socialists. Brooms are dirty floors. Wombats are winter grasses. Up is down and a yoke is a white. You get the picture, but it’s inside-out.”

….and running around until he was dizzy…

…and, finally, trashing his play area…

As Mr. R pointed out sagely to me before we left for the evening, sometimes a rat in a costume isn’t all that scary after all. Yes, Mr. R, I replied, but that doesn’t mean I’m going back any time soon….

8 Responses to “Weekend Nightmare Relived: Return to Chuck E Cheese”

  1. Mark Bukovec says:

    Ugh, my son had his last birthday party at the Cheese. I tried to dissuade him with a dozen alternatives, but no dice. The kids got into this crazed state where they mindlessly fed tokens into the games. The games, which last all of 30 seconds, dispense tickets which the kids later cash in for crap worth a fraction of the money spent getting the tickets. It’s a lot like investing in the stock market, so I guess it’s educational.

  2. Larry says:

    Speaking of juxtaposition, did anyone else notice the book on exorcism being beside the one on how to raise a baby? :P

    Thankfully, I’ve never been to the Cheese, as it likely would have been a traumatic experience, as it apparently was for you. The Cheese as Mao, now that was an amusing, but yet horrifying, thought to have on a lazy Sunday afternoon!

  3. Michael says:

    “Lots of weird little people running around who can’t fully control their own motor functions.” That sums up Chuck E Cheese pretty nicely. LOL!

  4. Bill Ectric says:

    My hat’s off to you, sir. You were in the belly of the beast and lived to tell the tale!

    The looming facsist rat chills me to the bone with his smug countenance and aloof bearing. If anyone ever questions capitalism, let them dwell for a season in the Kngdom of Chuckee Cheese, where poor souls wait in lines to spend 7,921 tickets for a plastic trinket.

  5. E. Drake says:

    Whoa, whoa! I see a NOFX sticker!!!

    Scared-a-bums!

    Haha!

    Right.

    Sorry.

    Neveryoumindme.

  6. Bill Ectric says:

    And by the way, your Chuck E. Cheese story is hilarious! Walked in with blood on your hand!

  7. Robyn says:

    I actually got thrown out of a chuck e. cheeze once when my ex sort of looked like he was maybe assaulting me or at least making crazy threats. I’m not sure it’s a good idea they serve beer.

  8. Joesph Yundt says:

    I love all the different ways of using cheese in food. Thanks for this post

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