Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Chuck E. Cheese

When you spend a great deal of time in a van with other like-minded individuals, you begin to develop a language or shorthand of your own. For example, in our van, if you say something is “an Eel”, that means it is a mirage with dangerous potential consequences. As in, “Dude, don’t pull the van off at that exit. It’s a total Eel.” This means that while the exit allegedly is filled with a virtual wonderland of tasty food options and convenient gas stations, it is probably a desolate hellhole with pre-packaged sandwiches from the Nixon Administration and meth addict cashiers that will give you a filthy wooden stick with a men’s room key attached to it that unlocks a bathroom filled with horrors beyond your imagination.

This whole “Eel Concept” began with us imagining that a new species of giant eel had evolved into a Venus flytrap that hunted humans. So let’s say you were driving on a horrible section of I-80 in Indiana (i.e. any section of I-80 in Indiana) and you see an exit with a 16 pump sparkly Shell station with a Starbucks, Panera, and Super Discount Fireworks Warehouse called “Absolutely Free Fireworks”. When you step out of the van, a giant eel will emerge from a small previously unnoticed waterway and bite you in half. As you get pulled under the water to be devoured by the eel, you would take a closer look at the exit. The exit oasis would then be revealed to be nothing more than a two-dimensional Hollywood set. (I would like to point out that through much of the Midwest there isn’t much to look at on the interstate system, so one tends to rely on one’s imagination to pass the time.)

Let me really let you into the inner circle. There’s a phrase we use when you have been caught completely unprepared. You are “like a mouse without shoes”. Example: “I climbed up on my roof to fix those tiles, and when I got up there I realized I forgot to bring the friggin nail gun. I was like a mouse without shoes up there!”

Here’s the back story… Leo P. Love has always been involved in “showbiz”. He hasn’t always been here this close to the top where a man drinks complimentary beer and gets an occasional free sandwich for his trouble. No, he paid his dues. He has played drums for years, but what really put him on the map was a job he took when he was around 18. After answering an ad, Leo found himself cast as one of America’s most loveable icons, and faced with the massive responsibility of bringing that character to life on a near daily basis. Yes friends, Leo was Chuck E. Cheese.

As Chuck E. Cheese, Leo quickly discovered he could smoke massive amounts of marijuana and complete his assigned tasks with relative ease. The parents had no idea that the guy in the oversized creepy mouse costume was as baked as a college kid at Burning Man. As long as he popped out after the animatronic band in the restaurant kicked out their last tune, who cared? He quickly became the “go-to” Chuck E. when it was discovered he could skate. If you attended an Ice Capades show at the old Richfield Coliseum in the mid Eighties and saw Chuck E Cheese skate around handing out coupons and promo bullshit, you saw a really high Leo in a mouse costume. I think he got high by the zamboni with former Cleveland Cavalier World B. Free before he went out there on the ice, but that might just be urban legend.

Leo’s career as Chuck E. Cheese was going as well as a career as a freakishly oversized cartoon trademark mouse could go. Then one day he went to walk the parade route at Strongsville Home Days as Chuck E., hand out some coupons, and spread general corporate restaurant goodwill. When he got there, he discovered he had left the giant mouse feet at home. This may have been due to the massive amounts of weed he had been smoking, but hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? Faced with marching in the parade slightly out of uniform, or not doing the parade at all, Leo made a judgment call and walked in the Chuck E. Cheese costume with the exception of wearing his Chuck Taylors in place of the giant mouse feet. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but people got all worked up. Mothers actually called Leo’s Chuck E. Cheese location to complain he was out of uniform. I mean, it’s not like he was in the Air Force walking down the street in an Air Force dress shirt with medals and cutoff jean shorts. He was an 18-year-old kid in a fucking company mouse costume. What, were kids going to think Chuck E. wasn’t real?

Regardless, that put Leo on the radar at the Pearl Rd Chuck E. Cheese location. When he knocked a kid over after popping out of Chuck E’s hiding place post animatronic band jamboree days later, that wasn’t good. It was especially bad when the kid freaked out when Leo (as Chuck E.) leaned over to pick him up. Who wants to be picked up by an obviously high cartoon mascot mouse when you just got dumped on the ground by this clearly dangerous creature? It was over. He turned in his costume in shame.

Let this serve as a cautionary tale. Be prepared. Don’t be like a mouse without shoes.


At January 20, 2012 at 8:53:00 PM EST , Blogger Dave L. said...

Greg - That was two great posts in one. The story of the Eel Concept is a great story in itself. Whiskey Daredevil psychedelia without the chemicals. Awesome. And Leo as Chuck E. Cheese? That's too good to be true. It would be great for the Daredevils to have a Chuck E. Cheese head for Leo to wear every once in a while.

At February 10, 2012 at 9:32:00 AM EST , Blogger ScottyJ said...

Chuck E. Cheese.....Leo P. Love......hmmmmmm......

At February 10, 2012 at 9:32:00 AM EST , Blogger ScottyJ said...

Chuck E. Cheese.....Leo P. Love......hmmmmmm......


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