When most people hear the name Chucky, two things come to mind: a demonic doll who terrorizes mankind and a mouse who pushes pizza and skee ball. Or maybe they are actually one in the same! GASP!
Think about it. Have you ever seen them in the same place at the same time? And they have the exact same M.O. They both worm their way into our lives through our kids as if they are harmless byproducts of childhood fun, only to later strangle the life out of us and our well-meaning desire to make our young ones happy.
A disgust for Chucky from the Child’s Play horror movie franchise is normal; but what do I have against Chuck E. Cheese, you say? Many of you already know my seedy background with this over-sized cartoon mascot. But if you don’t, I suggest you first read my post, “Chuck E. Cheese Could Have Been Your Father,” before proceeding. Everything will become crystal clear after that…I promise. Don’t worry. I will wait for you…
…I know, right? What can I say? I’m blessed. Anyhoo…
So here is the next chapter in the ongoing horrific saga of me and Chuck E. He’s stalking me. I am completely convinced of it. I thought I had managed to escape from his clutches oh so many years ago, but I didn’t count on having children…children he would end up using as pawns enabling him to come back into my life and terrorize me.
It is true that since becoming a mother, we have visited Chuck E. Cheese restaurants on numerous occasions, mostly for school fundraiser nights and a few birthday parties. But I honestly thought that Chuck E never noticed me, that the wear and tear of motherhood and almost two decades had rendered me unrecognizable to him. But I should have known he wouldn’t show his cards that early in the game. Silently, and unbeknownst to me, he patiently endeared himself to my two kids with each passing visit. A high-five here. A free extra token there. How were they to know they were playing right into his grubby, freakishly large paws?
And it worked. About a month or so ago, these words oozed from my daughter’s lips: “I want to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese this year.”
Despite the many, many, many other options I offered to her, she was staunch in her desire. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, she begged. Fine. I am not a victim. If this is the game you’re playing you sick bastard, I’m in. I’m not scared of you anymore. Me OR my 6 foot 6 enormously giant husband who once ripped a life-sized wrought iron wagon wheel lawn ornament straight from the ground. We will see who is going to be squeaking in their boots.
After trepidatiously making the reservation for the party, I tried to calm my nerves by being rational about the situation. That was a long time ago, Kelly. He has probably changed. Certainly a nationwide franchise wouldn’t risk their reputation or the threat of lawsuits by keeping a sleazebag of a mouse around for so many years. Would they? So I decided to do some research of my own. What I found wasn’t pretty. I should warn you; the following pictures may be disturbing. Please make sure your children aren’t present, and I apologize in advance for scarring for life the child that resides in your heart. But the truth must be known…
On the day of the party, my guard was up. I secretly took vengeful satisfaction when Chuck E. emerged to greet our party and my daughter’s friends ran up, encircled him, and started poking and prodding his mouse parts. My mouth mumbled a dutiful but half-hearted, “Girls, don’t assault Chuck E.” However, my mind was screaming, “NOT SO FUN TO BE GROPED, IS IT, YOU ANTHROPOMORPHIC CREEP?”
But Chuck E. knew where to hit back where it hurt: my kids wanted a picture with him. Now he would forever be a part of our sacred family memories on film. I could feel a panic attack begin raging through my body as my finger pressed down on the shutter release.
And he wouldn’t just leave us be after that. He insisted on being part of that special moment, when we sang happy birthday to my daughter and watched her blow out her candle. I felt violated by his blatant photo-bombing.
But it was almost over. The party was nearing the end. At one point, my daughter came over to me, looked at Chuck E. and said, “Don’t worry, mom. I’m sure it’s a totally different guy in that costume than the time he creeped you out.” Those were her exact words. My keenly perceptive, incredibly astute daughter said that during her birthday party. Listen to the children, they say. She was right. I finally felt like I could breathe again. I was being silly. Here I was giving the stink eye to someone who was probably not even born when that long ago Chuck E. made a pass at me. I needed to let it go. Besides, it was time for my daughter to take her turn in the ticket blaster machine, and for Chuck E. to make his exit back to the break room.
The sun came out again, and in its glowing rays, Chuck E. Cheese didn’t seem like such a menacing place after all. Everyone was smiling. We had made it. We had survived a birthday party at the place where a kid can be a kid. We made it out alive.
I stood among the group of 8 year olds crowded around the ticket blaster, watching my daughter try to ineptly grab tiny tickets flying around her. At first, I thought some of the air had escaped the machine, until I recognized the familiar stench of Limburger breath linger on the back of my neck for just a moment before it disappeared into a purple door adorned with the sign “Employees Only.”
My son, gluttonous for his own turn in the ticket blaster, turned to me and said, “I want to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, too!”
My nightmare continues…
* Disclaimer: While based on true events, this post is entirely for entertainment purposes only. At no time did anyone employed by or associated with Chuck E. Cheese restaurants harass or behave inappropriately toward me, my family, or our party guests. In fact, I would actually recommend having a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (did I just say that?????). Despite it not being MY favorite place to go as an adult, it was a very easy and relatively inexpensive experience. In fact, we ended up having to cancel our party at the last-minute due to an incredibly ridiculous and unexpected snowstorm (at the END of MARCH?), and the manager was extremely understanding and did not penalize us at all. Everything, including our bonus tokens for originally scheduling on a Sunday, were transferred to our rescheduled date (which was not a Sunday) with no hassle. Our party attendant was attentive, easy to work with, and she even ended up giving my kids bonus tickets for no reason. It was literally the easiest birthday party I have ever thrown (see my Birthday Party Planning Junkie post to understand what I mean). All in all, happy kid and happy mom. As for the mouse…he was completely harmless.
Photo Sources (in order of appearance): gamingbolt.com/chuckecheese.com; fark.com; outpost81.com; nursethehateblogspot.com; dulutheast86.com; fanpop.com. The last three photos are mine.