you can’t go back!

new number one question for my list of shit to say NO to: "yo, i’m at chuck e cheese with the kid, wanna come?"

the chuck e cheese word association you should ignore: ‘ohmigod i totally had my 6th birthday party there, it was heaven!!’

the mistake you shouldn’t repeat? rolling a slow sore body (last night: pilates and yoga. this morning? kickboxing! we did a special dance shake move in there which helped me to see how little i resemble shakira in the hip area) away from a perfectly good remote controlled saturday porn intake.

we can explore that some other time.

so i did it, i threw on clothes, i patted my new super short hair, and i went on over. i ran up a down escalator.

ack! yes, it was broken!

i so almost let that just sit there half true!

any, i slipped past the long line up to the front past the glares and ropes. i slipped past the tapping toe mamas who let me know, "you have to wait in line." i got to the front desk area where a team of four people waited to block me.

"hi i need to go in there!"
"yeah, so does everyone in line ma’am. are you stamped?"
"oh no i was waiting in line and then i had to get out and i guess they went in…" lies lies lies! evans had called me from inside to let me know this was the most-likely-to-work lie.
"yeah well, you have to wait in the line…and get stamped!"
"by myself?"
"what does the stamping mean tho?"
"everyone’s stamped ma’am. you have to get stamped. if you aren’t stamped i can’t let you in."
"but you have the stamping machine right there. i can call them to prove they are inside already…you want me to call them?"
"no i want you to go get in line."
"but -"
"look ma’am, -"
"there they are!!!"

and there they were! evans and jalen in the pizza line right in front of us. the They let me thru – they even stamped me – and i slipped into the madness. i realized that evans was alone with the kid, and that i was reinforcement.

let me here acknowledge that i sometimes exaggerate, just a little bit. i am not going to be doing any of that in the following paragraphs. what you are about to read is precise.


nothing compares to the 8th level of hell that is chuck e cheese!! here are the top ten rules of this dark, dark place:

1. you will get smothered in ‘i am a winner’ stickers as soon as you get in the pizza line. they will all fall off – someone underdid the sticky stuff. luckily, someone else’s job is to keep about 300 all over the floor so there’s always a replacement.

2. you will only get a table once you order. no one will help you fight the masses for a table. the exercise of finding a table is to warm you up for the rest of the day of battling with adults. the table thing means two adults are necessary to every child, cause someone needs to stay with the table while someone else gets the pizza, soda, finds the kid when they go out of sight, etc.

3. it will cost one token per game. a coupon for 15 will, laughably, SEEM generous. then, it will become painfully clear that no kid can be satisfied with less than a cup full of hundreds of the little gold coins. the kids, fast learning hustlers, all run up to the games and wait for a sucker like you to come along and put in a token so they can fight over the controls. only with a parent does a kid stand a chance of playing a game they ‘paid’ for.

4. for a moment, you will be shocked by the way other parents push your kid away from the games, steal the prize tickets and encourage their kids to cheat. then you will become a beast, screaming at someone’s brat to STOP STEALING THE HOOPZ BALL!!!! because its your kid’s turn to miss the basket.

5. only greasy pizza and vanilla coke will satiate you in this state. this is particularly true if you haven’t drunk soda in years. your mouth will become a soda vacuum, even as your brain does an internal powerpoint on how gross soda is. the kid you came with will have no desire to eat the pizza, and in some combo of boredom and desperation you may eat all the toppings while you wait. at some point you will wonder if cheese and pizza toppings are even a little bit south beachy? not that you’re even doing south beach, but your mind will be wandering in an attempt to escape the screaming of the two year old right behind you.

6. other kid’s fathers will look at you inappropriately, and the mothers will see that and use it against your kid on the game floor. as a result of that and general vibe, you will think all kinds of horrible things about humanity. you will consider introducing choice-for-all legislation where, when you test positively pregnant, you have to come to a place like this for three hours and can only continue your pregnancy if you don’t hit anyone. the kids are all so cute, even the evil ones. its the parents who make you realize it may be the end of times for this species.

7. you will stand behind the kid you came with at a dinosaur-themed two
player video game and, not looking at the mother behind the kid playing
against your kid, you will scream, "JUMP RUN RUN RUN JUMP JUMP RUN RUN
RUUUUUUUUN!!!! YES YES YES YES!!!!" she will be screaming the same
thing and if your kid loses, you will suck your teeth and not look at
That Bitch. if you win you will jump down to grab the tickets and try
to convince the kid to be as excited as you are. then in shame you will
go sit down.

8. before its over, you and several other adults will be elbow smashing each other at the easiest machines to try to get more tickets so your kid can leave with a new toy. no one has told you for sure that the tickets lead to toys, you just figure what the hell else can the tickets be for? shit, just in case, pump that elbow! you will finally get a whopping 308 tickets, which seems awesome, until you go to the toy window and see that the best toys are 4000 tickets. you will smile and tell your kid that the best gifts are kept under glass at the bottom and that yes, a rubber snake is totally worth all the games he played.

9. after two hours, the tasty pizza will morph into a gassy tummy ache!

10. you will thank god for every period cramp that occurs during that time, understanding the correlation between that pain and this pain.


at the end i realized with delight that i came with a kid who was not an asshole, at all. yeah man…jalen is an awesome kid. other kids, including girls, will push this kind of kid around. he knows they aren’t nice, he already knows that. and yet he will throw on a big smile and move to the next game and he is prettier than all of them and when it was time to go and he gave me the big hug and whispered that he would miss me, it was worth the whole horrific thing.

sigh. now – off to sleep so i can wake up to gospel aerobics tomorrow!!

but just a word to the wise – you aren’t 6 no more and you can’t go back.