I returned from a weekend trip to find my 7-year old son gushing about all of the activities he had been involved in over those few days. But I wasn't ready for the stunning announcement he made as he danced around the living room:
"Mom! You won't believe this! Chuck E. Cheese is a RIP-OFF!"
I whirled around to see if he had suddenly developed a high fever. Perhaps he had contracted a disease from the bite of a rare type of mosquito that had him speaking words without his knowledge? Surely this could not just be the level-headed observation of a child who's greatest love has been the glowing lights of that particular mouse house for years.
Suddenly the sound of skee ball and the ding dinging of electronic whizzerbang game thingies reeled through my mind.
"But...but...you LOVE Chuck E. Cheese?"
What was I doing? Was I trying to talk him out of this newfound revelation? Of course as a parent I had known that cardboard pizza and paying $732.00 in tickets for a pencil eraser was a bit of an overpriced experience...but this from the mouth of a mere babe? I had to get to the bottom of it.
"Why is it a rip-off?" I asked.
He quickly responded in a raised, almost frantic, voice. "Well! You know how you go there and you work so hard to win all those tickets??? It's not worth it! Just to get one little itty bitty prize on the bottom shelf costs like...like...FIVE HUNDRED tickets, Mom! It's a rip-off I tell ya!"
Sweeter words have never been spoken.