My stepdaughter has a deep affection for Chuck E. Cheese. I can’t fault her for that as I was into the animatronic pizza parlor scene circa 1986. But as I’ve noted before it can be a place of thinly veiled despair as well. Wednesday we all had dinner again with America’s second most famous rodent.
Much like every rave requires glow sticks, every child’s birthday party requires balloons. I walked across the Publix parking lot to the party supply store and ordered up the requisite My Little Pony balloons. I bought the Rainbow Dash balloon and admitted in open company that I knew who Rainbow Dash is. As I walked back to my car I realized I was a grown-ass, 38 year old man, walking across a parking lot adjacent to a biker party with a giant My Little Pony balloon flapping in the breeze. Once inside, my wife observed something that makes living on the west side of Jacksonville a rich and wonderful experience. As a sad person dressed as Chuck E. Cheese threw prize tickets up in the air for eager children, an older African-American gentleman yelled, “MAKE IT RAIN CHUCK E. CHEESE MAKE IT RAIN!”
Aside from the live action rat making it rain for all the little children, the video “entertainment” tells us that Chuck E. Cheese’s corporate media team hasn’t produced much in decades. The on screen graphics resemble the Sifl And Olly show from 1996. The restaurant is marketed for kids, but they understand that all the people stuck there watching are adults from age 37 and up. The characters were all doing songs spoofing acts like Journey and mid ’80s hip hop. The only human featured looked like someone from Duck Dynasty stoned out of their mind.
All this said, why they don’t sell booze is beyond me.