Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The "E" Stands for Eviscerate

If the Pulitzer committee is interested in awarding a 2008 prize for Best Sentence, I enthusiastically nominate the following:
Seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant's music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain's namesake mouse perform.
This gem comes from an article in the Wall Street Journal about the frequency of violent fights breaking out at Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants. The article, by Anna Prior, might also feature several runners-up in the Sentence category. For instance:
Law-enforcement officials say alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children's birthday parties make the restaurants more prone to disputes than other family entertainment venues.
Yes, it seems that -- especially in the Midwest -- adults can’t enter a Chuck E. Cheese’s without the place turning into a blood-soaked phantasmagoria. In one Wisconsin restaurant alone, police have been called to break up 12 fights since January 2007. If every other restaurant in the chain had an identical rate of incident, that would mean 6,456 cops dispatched since the beginning of last year.

And look, I wish I could say these were harmless shoving matches between irritated parents, but it’s way further beyond Thunderdome than that. One detail from a melee in Toledo:
One woman removed the red rope that marks the entrance queue and handed it to another woman, who swung the metal clip attached to it at others involved in the incident.
Another brawl (italics ahead) involved 85 people who were gassed by police, only to spill out into the back parking lot and continue fighting.

So, how does the restaurant chain respond to becoming what can only be described as a Skeeball-bedecked breeding ground for anarchy? Well, first, at least some locations have stopped selling alcohol, which probably wasn’t the best idea in the first place. Some locations have also “added security guards who carry pistols.” Uh...

The chain has had several slogans over the years, including the original (and awesome) “In Pizza We Trust” and the oddly permission-granting “You Can Smile America.” But in recent years, there’s been a flurry of slogans that haven’t stuck, probably because they’re things like “It’s Cool, For Real,” “Uh-Huh!” and -- oh, how I hope Wikipedia has this wrong -- “Moms Like It Like That.”

I’ve got a new one for them to try: “Your Napkins Can Be Used As Tourniquets!”

I could write about this for days. Months. But then this would become the oddest niche blog around. So instead, I’ll just leave the committee with one more sentence to consider:
A Chuck E. Cheese's can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.
(Via The Browser)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...napkins as tourniquets!" Good one.
Great post. Not surprised this happens when kids & alcohol mix.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Miles Doyle said...

you wrote the hell out of that, john. great job.

10:39 AM  
Blogger TK said...

There is almost too much awesome here for me to handle. It's breathtaking, really.

12:31 PM  
Blogger ANCIANT said...

There's a skit or scene in here somewhere. Maybe several.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this to be shown in a movie where least expected.

"What do you want for your birthday, Timmy?"

"I want our family to beat the shit out of another family to the tune of 'Good Day, Sunshine', as sung by Chuck and the big gorilla."

America, fuck yeah...

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is why I like you so much. More, please.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Chuck E. Cheese's can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.
Thank god, it's not just me! I've always felt a sense of threat there. It's those terrifying glassy-eyed robo-critters and their mind-controlling music. [shudder]

12:43 PM  

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