Monday, June 3, 2013

This Mouse is Scary



      This piece was initially included in my "Toys" post, but I knew that I had quite a bit to say about a certain mouse, so he got his own post.
 
    No, not Mickey; Chuck E.  For me, it's not surprising that the name Chucky was the name chosen to depict a certain psychotic doll.  While writing this piece, I became curious which came first, Chucky the psychotic doll, or Chucky, the insipid mouse?

     After googling and binging around, I found out that the movie Child's Play came out after the the chain of restaurants started.  I discovered that I was misinformed about the mouse and his conglomerate.   It is not Chucky, it is Chuck E. and Chuck E. Cheese began in 1977 in San Jose, CA.  Child's Play didn't roll out till 1988.  Let me make clear, I did not find anything to support this theory, but I think it's within the realm of possibility that a writer working on Child's Play could have visited a Chuck E. Cheese,  had less than jolly time with the family, and voila! They now have a great name for a psycho play thing.

     I considered posting a commercial photo of the doll beside a commercial photo of the mouse, for the intro of this post with the title, "Which Is Scarier?"; but decided against it because I didn't want either photo in my archives.  They both give me the willies.

     In the spirit of fairness, let me say that I know that Chuck E. Cheese has brought a lot of fun times to a lot of families.  Just not this one.

    We have visited Chuck E. Cheese three times.  A birthday party with lots of kids; one time with a playdate- which actually went okay; and the last time- for my daughters birthday, which ended in tears and is the reason that I won't return and the reason for this post.

     Let me assure you that Chuck E. Cheese did nothing out of the ordinary to seal the deal, so to speak.  Everything was clean, everything was safe.

     Before we left the house we reminded our daughter, "this is a place for fun, and even though you play games, and get tickets, the toys there are for the most part trinkets and don't last more than a few play times.  The games are rigged to a point so you don't win that many tickets, so let's just go and appreciate it for what it is." The birthday gift presentation was to be later on.  So, we went and spent a couple of hours.  Had "lunch", which was largely uneaten, and bought 2 of the Chuck E. Cheese souvenir drink cups, that we can take anywhere in the country and get complimentary refills.   Whoo boy!  Just what we want to do... cart these "mice" along on family vacations, thus, requiring us to seek out Chuck E. Cheese wherever we go.  First Sign.
     All was going swell.  We even actually saw Chuck E.  Thankfully, neither of my daughters were interested in getting a photo with him.  Then on one of the games, my daughter was awarded a lot of tickets.  Over 200.  This was towards the end of the trip, so we proceeded to the awards counter.  While she had won a good deal of tickets, many more than the trinket counter required, she still did not have enough for one of the actual toys on the wall that had caught her eye.  Second sign.  That's when the tears of disappointment and heartache set in.  Or rather, poured out.  What ensued for the next 45 minutes was what we call a Category 5 fit.  Can't remember what genius of a parent we adapted the hurricane rating system from for classifying our girls' fits, but again, thanks.
     My daughters are on the whole, well mannered, big hearted, sources of pride.  This was not one of those times.  This was one of those times that gives meaning to the phrase "being a parent is the toughest job there is."  During my attempts to calm my daughter, and persuade her to choose something that her 250 tickets could afford her, a Chuck E. Cheese staff member added chirpingly, "Or, sweetie, you could get something small, and save the rest for the next time you come."  She then smiled at me and explained in detail befitting a professor to a naive coed, "that is the way that our guests acquire the big ticket items."  Third sign.  I am not a naive coed.  I am a worn out parent.  Next time?!?  I enlightened the perky staff member; there would be no "next time".  We finally escaped with a calmed, although still disappointed birthday girl.  Three hours later, after some "down time", gifts and ice cream and cake, our grateful, big hearted source of pride returned. 

      A friend of mine remembers her trip to Chuck E. Cheese, when her now grown kids were small, where the sight of this mouse brought her kids to frightened tears.  Not to worry, all three recovered and are college graduates.   Although I think her son still doesn't like clowns, or over sized mice.

      Now, it's almost a year later, and Chuck E. Cheese rarely enters our family conversation.  We can even pass it on our regular traveled street without a whole lot of fanfare.  Still with the commercials that run often, that mouse is never far away.

     Apparently there's an application for your phone that can be downloaded.  Oh, I am sorry, it's an "Augmented Reality App", that you download to your phone.  Then on your next visit, (as if) to Chuck E, Cheese, you go around to different special photo spots, point your camera and the cartoon mouse "comes to life" and joins you in the photo.   Then you can send your photos to friends and family (lucky them), or enter them for a chance to be on Chuck E. Cheese's website, Facebook, or Twitter page!  If you would like a serious laugh go to their site, and watch the "how to video".  Serious SNL worthy material.

     "Make some memories!" "Make them last forever!"  I've got kids, thus, lots of great memories that don't include a mouse.  Heck, in most cases the absence of a mouse usually ensures a great memory.
As for making them last forever, that's not for me to decide.  If I could pick, and was hit with a sudden case of amnesia,  memories with a mouse would be among the first to go.

     Last, but not least, the commercial where Chuck E. says he did all this for me.  In this commercial Chuck E. lets us in on "a little secret"; that when he built the first Chuck E. Cheese he did it for the moms and dads, so they'd have a place where they could go and relax.
To that bit of phony baloney altruism, I end this post with my response-

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah..... good one.