Off-duty: Trapped at Chuck E. Cheese

I recently attended my granddaughter’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I anticipated this event with as much glee as I did for my last prostate exam.

My memories of Chuck E. Cheese are saturated with visions of children, out of control, running through the endless maze of loudly clanging rides, demanding more tokens all the while riding a Coca-Cola sugar high that lasts about two months. I remember parents with the look of doom hopelessly trying to keep up with the adolescent frenzy of movement that soon blended into a whirlwind of sound and movement that left young mothers with the look of a strung-out meth queen.

Even though I was not part of the first line of defense for my granddaughter’s birthday party, I cringed as I drove in the pouring rain — perfect weather for such an event. The parking lot was full. I could see the movement inside. There appeared to be two thou— no — 10,000 kids running amok, as if dancing to some evil sadistic ritual, probably circling the parents who appeared cornered like Custer at his last stand. Adding to my dismay was the fact I had forgotten my flask! Damn you, evil children!

The token-operated rides were clanging and bells were ringing and kids were running in no particular direction as I entered. I didn’t dare go into the pit of hell where the rides were for fear that I’d be sucked into the vortex of child madness. I flanked them to the right, making my way along the wall to the concession stand. I surfaced at the counter and came face to face with a young man with a Chuck E. Cheese name tag. He looked at me, but he was looking past me with a thousand-yard stare into hell. He had been on the front line too long. Don’t they give these kids furlough??!! The whole scene was overwhelming. I could feel only panic on the doorstep of my sanity.

And then it happened.

Who knew you could rent sanity for less than $3?

As the screeching from the pit of hell grew louder, I turned away in horror and, in that moment, I read the menu on the wall. I looked and looked away. Then suddenly, as if struck by a rock, I looked again:

“Beer $2.95”

The earth stood still. The skies opened and the rain instantly ceased, giving way to the sound of a choir. The music filled the room, replacing the screaming, shrieking noise of the demon children.

I couldn’t speak. I just pointed to the sign, looked over at Detective Sandy and excitedly exclaimed: “Chuck E. Cheese has beer!!”

It was true. We jumped up and down like two giddy school girls and pointed to the menu and pleaded: “THAT! PLEASE!! NOW!!!”

I just stared at the beer, feeling that somehow we could now move forward. We waded among the children as they frantically buzzed past us like a demented herd of 3-foot-tall wildebeests. Slowly we crossed passed the spaceship ride and alongside the jumping pit of colorful balls, careful to hold the beer high and out of harm’s way. We made camp at the second row of booths, behind the birthday celebration tables.

There we would be safe.

The afternoon went by much faster. We even enjoyed the entertainment as Chuck E. Cheese danced onto the stage, surrounded by five kids wanting to pull his costume to shreds. We smiled at the disheveled soccer moms as they tried to ration the pizza, only to find most of it thrown to the floor.

Detective Sandy and I looked at each other and smiled as we knew this was their time to fret and worry and chase the demon children around the now pizza-ridden floor. But for us, we could sit and watch and be thankful that all we had to do was just sit and watch — and drink a beer.

55 comments Add your comment

Jen (your daughter)

April 27th, 2010
2:39 pm

Ahem. You did go into the game area WITH a kid in tow. Don’t play like you were all taumatized! Beer is always served at any party I plan.

Look before I leap

April 27th, 2010
2:41 pm

It would be better if you could rent a Taser along with buying a glass of beer.


April 27th, 2010
2:50 pm

Great story…first you complain about traffic, now about spending time with your grandkids. Can you write more blogs about tagging drunks and the daily crime in my area?


April 27th, 2010
4:28 pm

I hate Chuck E. Cheese.


April 27th, 2010
4:56 pm

Hey, UrBlogSux……, YOU suck!

Thanks for the laugh, Steve……it’s always refreshing to hear a funny story from you! A nice break from the daily realities of “tagging drunks and daily crime”…….

Lt. Steve

April 27th, 2010
9:47 pm

Ah Jen, you’re a trip. I did my time. Do yours.


April 28th, 2010
6:52 am

I presume there was plenty of time between the beers and driving home? hope, hope. Whenever our family goes out, I’m amazed at the numbers of parents splitting a pitcher of margaritas or bottle of wine or whatever. That stuff ain’t all burned off by the time they leave. It gives a bad example to children when both parents/guardians/whatever are drinking because you know one of the two is driving away from there. Kind of scary.


April 28th, 2010
7:06 am

Chuck E. Cheese is so awful. Have you heard of fights and worse happening at CEC locations around the country? They should shut those places down.


April 28th, 2010
7:14 am

What? You mean you didn’t get liquored up and crawl through the gerbil tubes? After 14 years of coaching ball, I’m relieved to know that I never have to eat pizza again.


April 28th, 2010
7:16 am

I needed this laugh this AM! Thanks for sharing.


April 28th, 2010
7:24 am

So you had lots of beers, got in your car and drove home? Yeah, that’s safe. When a cop gets pulled over for a DUI, he flashes his badge and the cop on patrol lets him go.


April 28th, 2010
7:32 am

This is one of your better stories. But I’m embarrassed to admit my first thought was “cop drives to party, annoyed he forgot his flask”.

Linda Marie

April 28th, 2010
7:42 am

It’s amazing that a teacher in Georgia can be fired for simply being pictured holding a glass of champagne at a wedding posted on Facebook, while our police officers joke about drinking beer in the presence of children. I don’t find that funny in the least.


April 28th, 2010
7:47 am

Come on Grampa – enjoy it! I aboslutley love taking my granddaughter to CEC, the park and any place she wants to go – she is absolutely adorable and I am enjoying EVERY blessed moment with her! Can’t wait for more grandchildren to be born so I can have fun with them too! Lighten up and play the game where you smash the alligator’s head in!!!

Buford Sowega

April 28th, 2010
7:55 am

Who says it’s funny? It’s deadly serious. There’s no way to survive Chuck E. Cheese’s WITHOUT beer.

But seriously, you can have A beer, singular. Or two, if you’re not the driver. Nobody’s talking about getting blitzed and driving home with a van load of kids.

And the flask bit IS funny. Truthfully, a teacher-and-flask joke would be funny too, but of course you would have to tell it anonymously–folks are prudes about what school marms can do.


April 28th, 2010
8:02 am

LOL. You should try that being the never married uncle for a multitude of nieces and nephews. At least there are frequently some great looking tennis moms there to enjoy. :)


April 28th, 2010
8:03 am

What a hilarious account of your Chuck E. Cheese experience! Love it. I can remember, even as a child, dreading Chuck E. Cheese…it was always, just…too much.


April 28th, 2010
8:03 am

I get great personal injury cases from kid injuries from indoor playgrounds like Chuck E Cheese. Adding beer to the mix should only make my settlements higher. Please oh please start selling liquor, please.


April 28th, 2010
8:07 am

Some of you folks need to lighten up. You make it sound like this was court testimony. It’s a humorous story. That’s it, a story. Entertainment not investigative journalism.


April 28th, 2010
8:14 am

The writer sounds just like my mother-in-law. Always crabby and always bitching. The only difference here is that the writer is a man, and my m-i-l doesn’t drink beer. Come to think of it, she and him are one in the same.

Van Jones

April 28th, 2010
8:57 am

“…our police officers joke about drinking beer in the presence of children.” Oh my, not in the presence of CHILDREN!!! They will be warped seeing an adult participating in an adult activity. It’s a good thing they didn’t see you drive (adult activity) or vote (adult activity) or, gads, go to work (adult activity).


April 28th, 2010
9:32 am

I think a few of the commenters need to back off a little on the seriousness of drinking a few beers over several hours and getting behind the wheel. The law allows a low tolerance of .08 which is like slamming two beers, catching a mild buzz and getting behind the wheel and it is obvious Steve was taking his time. As for the flask, can’t y’all take or even understand a joke? I have worked with cops for over 25 years and once you get to know them, you will find no finer friends and come to understand that most of them have a well developed, if morbid sense of humor. On the other hand if they don’t know you they rarely open up and are paranoid to boot. My funniest moment with cops was when I was buried in a telecom room troubleshooting a network issue. I was intently working with my laptop when I noticed a movement in the doorway looked over and roared in laughter, a uniformed cop was standing there wearing a really good bunny mask. he took it off, and told me “you looked like you needed a break”. I gave him a big thumbs up and my thanks. The job became easier and 30 minutes later I was out of the place. Thanks guys! Ya’ll are fine friends and even worse enemies. I make damn sure that I never be found in a compromising position by a cop. I have no desire to meet the less pleasant side of your job!


April 28th, 2010
10:52 am

Hey people lighten up, it’s only a story, and LoFlyer I agree with your statements about Officers being real fine folks, I too have known and worked with many officers for the past 20 years. You can’t find a better bunch of people anywhere.


April 28th, 2010
11:19 am

The place needs an adults-only balcony so adults can enjoy their drinks and view the mosh-pit from a safe distance.


April 28th, 2010
1:12 pm

To those who think Steve and Detective Sandy got blitzed at the local CEC, you guys obviously haven’t been and even tried to accomplish that!! Its impossible, the lil guy behind the counter can only server you 1 beer per hour with a 2 beer maximum while you are there. And they check your receipt. He should have brought the flask!!!


April 28th, 2010
2:51 pm

I remember my first CEC experience. I was attending my nephews Bday party, starving, waiting for the pizza to arrive, which it did late. I picked up my first slice of pizza getting ready to inhale it. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a kid sitting at the table next to me, projectile vomit on the kid sitting across the table from him. Funny how having something like that happen can cure your hunger pains instantly.

Folks, police officers like to enjoy a cold one too, get over it.

Way Prettier Than You are

April 28th, 2010
4:16 pm

Wow. This brings back memories (Also from SHOWBIZ PIZZA) from when my sons were young and when I watch the videos from 20 years ago,( they are now 25 and 27 ) AND how sane I was and I find it hard to believe just how calm I was…. So glad to know that they have adult beverages there if and when I become a grandma! Next time be sure and look into the kid’s eyes..they are all on SUGAR HIGHS!

Lt Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:34 pm

Guys-A (1) Uno beer and I had a driver and I love to throw the flask into it for sh__ and giggles but some of you are watching way too many Dragnet reruns. We’re people.just people. Put the soapbox back in the wine cellar.


April 29th, 2010
7:36 am

“Dum-de-dum-dum” – Just the facts, Steve…


April 29th, 2010
8:40 am

quick story –
As a kid my family was friends with the local preist and his family. We went to a similar family-friendly pizza place in our city, after work and the priest was still “in uniform”. He placed his order for a pitcher of beer and I still remember the expression of “should I or is God testing me” on that college kid’s face. The priest friend later told us this happened quite a bit but he didn’t mind, it was a way to remind everyone that he was a guy, too.


April 29th, 2010
8:47 am

L T,

Sooo many politicaly correct/chicken little/save the world from themselves/uptight out there to ruin one heck of a funny colum. I don’t drink but I am the designated driver if need be. Our friends are normally UNO beer too. Police friends are UNO drinkers too. So have fun, have the beer, keep the flask handy for those special occasions and enjoy life. Maybe you can teach people to loosen up some too.


April 29th, 2010
3:05 pm

Jeeze. Some of you people ought to get some coal suppositories. You’d get rich off the diamonds that you’d get back on your next bathroom break.


April 29th, 2010
5:20 pm

Sounds just like a Buffet concert to me!


April 29th, 2010
7:16 pm

He said “beer”. Not meth. Give Grandpa a break.


April 29th, 2010
7:57 pm

Thanks for another set of laughs – I love this blog!


April 30th, 2010
4:50 pm

Hey everybody, you have to know that Grandpa’s are just antique little boys. Lt. Steve does a great job of telling the story, and he should be congratulated on being able to get THREE (3) words out, I can usually only get out two … BEER, NOW. After the first swig, I’ll usually get to the “Thanks dude”. I just wish Lt. Steve was a more prolific writer… I could use a story everyday, then I wouldn’t have to make up my own and have everybody around me groaning all the time.


May 1st, 2010
10:20 am

Steve………….You wanted kids of your own, and now you are paying the price. You can’t have it both ways.
Either you wanted kids and now, grand kids or nothing !!! So quit bitching and get on with your life that you had made with your grand kids. Its to late to turn back.

This no law written in stone that you have to go to Chuckee Cheese. A nice quite sit down place where you and your Mrs and your children can enjoy a good meal (no loaded down with high carbs and lots of sugar) and maybe you will feel better and live longer. All that stress at Chuckee Cheese will pay you back at some point later and really for what?

Have a nice day in retirement from Fulton County


May 1st, 2010
4:30 pm

For all this fretting…will you notice the last words of this hilarous little story was they drank “A” beer! GET A LIFE! Not everyone get plastered like you do!

BIG Lt. Rose Fan!

May 1st, 2010
5:18 pm

I’m right there with ya baby!! I would rather poke my eye with a rusty pitchfork than go in that hideous place! Heck, I break out in hives just driving by !!
Thanks for always making me smile – love ya lots!

BIG Lt. Rose Fan!

May 1st, 2010
5:42 pm

Hey UrBlogSuks – Can you even guess how obvious it is that you have a record??! LOL! “Bitter with an ax to grind” is a more appropriate moniker for you! (Oh, sorry – moniker means “name”). And if you think you’re even getting close hurting Lt Rose’s feelings, I do believe he’s way too smart to let some duma$$ criminal like you get under his skin.

Marcus Graham

May 1st, 2010
7:02 pm

I am sensing two retirements coming on soon. This is not funny at all! I will be in Mayor Galambos’ office on Monday to call for your resignation or termination. Alcohol and kids in any way is no laughing matter. And, to post such rubbish online–ARE YOU KIDDING ME! MORON.


May 1st, 2010
7:30 pm

All of you folks beeyatching about the LT having a beer or two need to grow the F up. Self-riteous jerks like you need to tend to your own matters and let the rest of the world do as they wish. Unless it directly impacts you, you have no say in the matter. Go hug your Obama blow-up doll.


May 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

Marcus G, let me guess, you have either had a few to many to post satire or you are rabid tee-totaling founding member of MADD. Do you realize just how stupid and intolerant your post reads to those who are a little more laid back, and have a sense of humor? “Alcohol and kids in any way is no laughing matter.”. How is that? I would venture that at least 20 percent of the procreation of children occurs under the influence of alcohol or worse, which is kind of funny in itself. I cannot tell you how much fun the kids have at a family BBQ when half the adults are sloshed. As for retirements, I would suggest you retire to a counseling center and find what your major mental malfunction is before you hurt someone, most likely yourself.
Best regards,
Agent of DAMM


May 1st, 2010
9:23 pm

Really, at a kid’s party place like that, do you seriously think any of the little children would take particular notice of a grandpa drinking one beer? As children grow up and see adults drink in moderation, they just may learn responsible behavior.


May 2nd, 2010
1:29 am

Marcus needs a nap.


May 2nd, 2010
10:17 am

Lots of uptight people here. Get a sense of humor or don’t put your stupid comments here. this was meant to be a funny story, not that a cop got drunk or forgot his flask. Most of it is not real and it’s exaggerated, like 10,000 kids in CEC. Think about it and lighten up.


May 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

without cops on the street most of you suckers would be raped, robbed and killed.


May 2nd, 2010
10:24 am

loflyer; drinking 2 beers will not result in a BAC of. 08, probably half that. It all depends on the person’s weight too.


May 2nd, 2010
3:50 pm

Lt. Steve is an old friend, he’s one of the honest, most hard-working LEO’s I’ve known…for him to joke about a flask & a beer is just pure ‘funny’…so what if there was a beer involved. How righteous & sanctimonious you all sound. You weren’t there & even if you were, you would not have seen half of what you think you might have Police are human beings….charged with a job most of you could never qualify to do & never stand the training or restrictions to do the job in an honest & forthright manner. Take Rose’s story for what it is, entertainment & quit trying to read more into it than is there.


May 2nd, 2010
11:21 pm

Marcus, you must have grown up with a parent that abused alcohol. I have close friends that head up a MADD group due to loss of a son, so I understand ramifications. However, if a parent is a responsible drinker, not an alcoholic, and doesn’t get drunk in front of their kids, a kid will not think much of the drinking. It’s just an adult beverage. My son puts it in same category as coffee. My spouse was raised in a true Italian family and was exposed to wine as being a normal part of the evening meal. Because of this, he never abused alcohol nor had the urge, didn’t use as a tool to rebel and resisted any peer pressure. He realized it wasn’t something special and it didn’t make him cool. I hope to teach my son the same. Let Lt Steve enjoy his embellished story and his one beer, for goodness sake. I’m glad my days of attending Chuck E Cheese parties are over.