I’m not sure if Dave & Busters exists outside of California, but I’m sure something similar does. The basis for their business is that a small part of each of us wishes we could return to Chuck E. Cheese one more time, without immediately being pegged as child molesters on the prowl. So they built a Chuck E. Cheese that serves beer and features pool and, for some reason, shuffleboard. Skee-Ball is kind of fun, especially considering the developments in Ebonics since I last played the game. And I savor the occasional opportunity to demonstrate my mastery of those games where you pay a dollar to shoot baskets for 45 seconds, instead of doing it for free in the park. I finally hit D&B’s for a friend’s birthday party and, although I owned the fucking shit out of the basketball game, the place sucks.
First off, the atmosphere and advertising promise crudely tasty morsels containing near-toxic levels of fat, salt and nitrates. I was prepared to indulge in house delicacies along the lines of beer-battered potato skins, cheesy bacon sticks and cheesecake tempura. Instead, D&B’s offers very bland, generic skins and wings that bespeak microwave preparation and bribes to la Migra. The end result is fattening, unhealthy food that is no more enjoyable than shots of wheat grass. To accompany their food, D&B’s should invent alcohol that doesn’t get you drunk, but still causes cirrhosis.
And $14 an hour to play pool? Are you fucking kidding me? How much to fuck me in the ass with a frozen piece of your shit, then use it to gouge out my eyes and ejaculate directly into my brain?
Some things never change, and some people never learn. You can win tickets that can be exchanged for prizes, just like at Show Biz, Major Magic or Chuck E. Cheese. And just like at those places, they don’t even bother to go through the motions of offering you something worthwhile. Perusing the store with my jackpot-hitting friends, I, without exaggeration, didn’t see anything I would want for free. Shot glasses? I’m not a girl with a vagina. I drink out of the bottle. Novelty combs, mini-footballs and stuffed animals? I’ll pass like Chris Mihm on a fast break with Kobe Bryant. Even the “grand” prizes, which it would take thousands of dollars to win, were laughable. One was a stereo so chintzy it could only have been manufactured in Haiti. “Oh looky, the tape deck – THE TAPE DECK – is made out of papier mache. Another was an autographed photo of Nolan Ryan. Look, fuckheads, if I wanted to hang a photo of a major leaguer on my wall, I’d either be eight or retarded. In either case, I wouldn’t know who Nolan Ryan is, and I’d be at Chuck E. Cheese.