Today was my daughter’s 6th birthday celebration. For more than half her young life, she has chosen to spend her special day with a giant, buck-toothed rat. It’s really rather strange when you think about it. On any given weekend across America, hoards of children dance around this character while terrible renditions of 80’s rock blare over the speakers, their words replaced with bad rodent puns.
And the parents….poor suckers. They shell out upwards of a hundred dollars to party with the rat. What does this buy you? Some greasy pizza, an 8-inch “cake” (which is basically 2 pieces of Twinkie cut in a round shape and slathered with artificially colored cool whip), and a front-row seat for songs like “Overkill” by Men At Work. Really? That’s disturbing on at least two levels. First, what the hell kind of music is this for kids? And then there’s the whole extermination..rat…killing theme. Can you say nightmares?
Ahh, but you also get tokens. These golden coins allow you to play arcade games with the sole purpose of earning tickets. And then…you can trade the tickets in for fabulous prizes which more than justify the expense of the party. I scored some green vampire teeth and a roll of SweeTarts for a mere 237 tickets. You can’t get that at some lame house party!
Seriously though, I was thrilled to be at this party, at Chuck E Cheese or anywhere else. I can’t remember for the life of me what we did for her last birthday. It was the same week I was diagnosed with cancer, and although I felt I was handling it extremely well, the whole thing is an empty space in my brain. I plan to savor every birthday from now on, rats or no rats.
Did I mention that the have beer now at Chuck E Cheese?