The Stanley Cup playoffs started tonight for my Pittsburgh Penguins, but I was at Chuck E. Cheese's for a school fundraiser. That's a lot like those lousy t-shirts you get as souvenir gifts from people who go to really cool places. The Pens didn't just open up the playoffs, they annihilated the Islanders! Just like I didn't just miss most of the game, I missed most of the game because I was stuck at Chuck's! Let me set the table if you're not familiar with Chuck's....
Kids love Chuck E. Cheese's because they have bunch's of fun, simplistic arcade-style games that churn out tickets after playing that can be used to trade in for plastic bugs, party favors, candy, and cheap toys. They also have generic, over-priced, greasy pizza. I'm fond of saying I've never met a pizza I haven't liked. There are times at Chuck's, though, when I wish I hadn't met their pizza. There are lots and lots of unsupervised kids between 2 and 12 running everywhere. There's lots of things for kids to climb on, including tubes that look like a hamster cage all over the place. There are generally about 13 different birthday parties going on, too, all at the same time, and sometimes you might see a teenager in a giant rat costume being chased around the room by a bunch of kids. It's chaos.
So that's where I was stuck tonight. I'm happy that my daughter enjoys it as much as she does. There are worse things she could be enjoying. Tonight was special since her elementary school gets a percentage of the proceeds, so I guess it's for a good cause. But I sure wish we could've gotten home earlier to see more of the Penguins game. Final score was 5-0.
In between bites of pizza and games of not-a-lot-of-skill, my little girl spent time with one of her school friends. The friend and her little brother kept hanging around our booth, and I started to wonder if they were there alone. I've heard about parents doing the ol' "drop-and-dash", where they drop off their kids, then take off to run errands or get some away time or whatever, knowing their kids are in a controlled environment and can't leave with anyone except who they came in with and has a matching hand-stamp. So it seemed like these kids were by themselves. The little brother seemed to prefer hanging around with me instead of playing with his sister. I soon found out why. He said he was hungry. Then he said he was REALLY hungry, and that his parents didn't get them any food. Then he said our pizza looked like it might taste really good. I took pity on him and gave him a slice before he could knock me over with anymore hints. He seemed to really appreciate the pizza, and he took off with it before I could even say you're welcome. He showed up again about 10 minutes later, followed closely by his parents, who were actually there. They kind of glared at me and kept walking, and I overheard the father say they were not eating there. They didn't acknowledge me at all, besides the glare. I guess they weren't happy about me giving their son a slice of pizza. About 10 minutes after that, the little boy showed up again. He didn't say anything, but he kept looking at the last slice of pizza on the table, then he would look at me, lick his lips, then look at the pizza again. So I said, "Go ahead, you can have it." He grabbed it and skipped on back to his parent's table. I hope they watched him eat it, and I hope he tells them where he got it!
I called it a day at 8:30 and my daughter and I came home. We got home in time for me to watch the entire 3rd period of the Pens win. I'm satisfied. But I refuse to ever again get stuck at Chuck's during Stanley's playoffs.
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