My wife Christy and I took our grandson Emytt to Chuck E. Cheese Saturday night. CEC holds a special place in my heart. When I was 17 and working at Hardee’s by the mall I really hated my life and I think the people I worked with hated me as well. That was the only thing that we had in common. So one day while I was on a break I walked to CEC (then called Showbiz Pizza) to play some games when I had the idea to apply for a job. I was interviewed by a man named Daryl Justice, who hired me on the spot.

I loved my job there so much that I started recruiting my friends to work there with me and before long going to work felt much like going to hang out with my friends. And yes I wore the rat costume and and played with kids. And sometimes I would walk right out the front door and down the sidewalk to Service Merchandise. I would kill some time there walking on their treadmills and taking pictures with kids and adults alike. Make fun all you want, but you have never felt the kind of love and adoration that Chuck E. Cheese gets. You are an instant celebrity. My main job though was as a game tech. I walked around with rolls of tokens and whenever a kid had trouble with a game it was my job to give them a refund, fix the game and play it for a while to make sure it worked. As a result I became pretty good at the games and when I left there I took with me the undisputed air hockey championship of CEC.

What a great life! Playing games, eating pizza that the kitchen had fouled up for one reason or another. Sure it only paid $4.25 an hour but who cares?

My one regret was getting my best friend, Jason White, a job there. I loved working there with him but poor Jason was afflicted with something I did not have, ambition. He took it too seriously and as a result he received promotion after promotion until they moved him to Texas. But alas the joke is on me because Jason now works at Laser Quest where he is the manager of an indoor laser tag game. I think a visit to Texas is overdue.