Posted by: robinsonwarner | September 25, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

At what point in our growing up did the threat of not being invited to someone’s birthday party lose its potency?  I’m thinking that this threat stops being important at the same exact time in your life when you have access to cake and ice cream indepedent of your parents. 

A real independent kid could ride his bike down to a corner store and get cake at what.. seven, eight years old?  Growing up in New Hampshire in the early 1990’s, I grew up in an era before dangerous pedophiles were luring children into their lairs of yuckyness, or perhaps there was no Chris Hansen to let us know that children could be sexually seduced instantly.  This means I was absolutely allowed to head down to the store… but I had to come right back.  My parents understood freedom was essential for a child but let’s just say I always thought that Volvo trailing me from one hundred yards away looked awful familiar.

So was the birthday party disinvite fueled by our childish desires for cakes and ice cream?  I think the answer is something simple, but I’m not sure cake and ice cream is the answer.  Ah yes!  Now I remember.  The real reason we would curb our behavior in response to the threat of being a birthday party outsider by, was because there was always that possibility that the party would be held at Chuck E. Cheese.

The mere mention of Chucke E. Cheese could send an entire second grade classroom into violent fits of joy that was capable of throwing glue sticks with deadly force.  Why did we adore Chuck E. Cheese?  Well there were four essential pillars of this establishment that made us go fucking bananas for Chuck E. Cheese: pizza, games, mascots, ball pits.

1.  Pizza – Imagine if Chuck E. Cheese served burgers?  Did you almost just kill yourself?  Exactly.  This brilliant idea to serve pizza followed the 12,000% increase of pizza stock after Ninja Turtles took over the planet in the late eighties through the early nineties.  Kids would sell their own friends into slavery while saluting a Soviet flag if it meant a delicious pizza.

2.  Games – Skee ball, Simpsons video game, racing, and air hockey.  This is all you needed to keep kids happy for a week, so it obviously worked for three hours.  The thing about air hockey is that kids are stupid and they would hold the air hockey paddles by the edges and someone would always end up getting his finger destroyed by the puck.  He would cry but then quickly be taken out to the back and shot.  We learned many lessons as children, but the two most important is that a T. Rex would ultimately make the best pet and that there is no crying at Chuck E. Cheese.

3. Mascot – Did you ever notice that Chuck E. Cheese was a mouse?  What other famous mice are there?  Oh yeah.  Mickey fucking Mouse.  This was another brilliant move because when kids couldn’t go to Disney World every weekend like they wanted, Chuck E. Cheese once every two or three weeks was a sufficient compromise.  If Disney World is the pile of coke on Tony Montana’s desk, then Chuck E. Cheese is is a six dollar crack rock.  But it would have to do.

4.  Ball Pit – I’m not sure who the absolute fuck Einstein of childhood psychology is that figured out the appeal of ball pits, but this guy probably has his own tropical island and a Bentley for every day of the week.  I would imagine his three pronged thesis on ball pits went something like this:

Premise 1: Given that balls are fun

Premise 2: Given that kids like balls

Premise 3:  Then kids like fun

The second part:

Premise 1: If kids like fun

Premise 2: If fun costs money

Premise 3: Given that fun = happiness

Premise 4: Then happiness costs money.

The third part:

Premise 1: Given that parents have money and children do not

Premise 2: If parents want their children to be happy

Premise 3: Given that happiness is synonymous with fun

Premise 4: Given that balls are fun

Premise 5: Parents will pay for balls

If there is a moral to these observations it’s that there is a pantheon of adults doing research on children trying to understand what makes them tick and most importantly how to get their parents to pay to help that ticking take place.  All I know is that I was so pegged by Chuck E. Cheese that every time I watch The Simpsons my palms start sweating and I instinctively reach for a quarter.  Or everytime I play air hockey my fingers start to ache. 

That’s all for now.  You better tell people about my blog or you’re not coming to my birthday party.

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Responses

  1. ROFL! Yes I’ve never heard Chuckie cheese compared to a 6 dollar crack rock before! Thank God my gurlz are soooo over Chuckie. They spent most of their toddlerhood scared to approach him until their “fake” mouse detectors kicked in.

    As for ball pits…geez, nothing’s nastier than your kid going into one, and discovering some baby’s diaper on the bottom of all those balls. Do they disinfect those balls one at a time?? No they DO NOT. The inventor, should he ever be found should be shot immediately.

    Climbing that big ladder to all those tunnels, now that has it’s distinct advantages. You can go shopping and leave your kid there for a couple hours at least and he’ll never know you’re not there. 🙂

    When’s your birthday? I’ll be there with Pizza AND a cake, cuz I’m cool and thoughtful like that.

  2. i used to go to DZ- Discovery Zone…they probably didn’t have those in New Hampshire but DZ was always where the party was at hollllaaaaaa

  3. Free Wings! This place has great pizza and wings!


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