I lost my sock in the foam pit. I landed in a yellow puddle at the bottom of a slide. I fell off the trampoline (which is impossible really- because it’s one of those trampolines positioned in-ground). The padding at the edges looks soft, but the metal springs beneath don’t confirm that. After the trampoline, I had to admit- Totally Tube You World had been a mistake. A mistake made less painfully by a child, surely.
I lost at three games of laser tag before losing my privilege to play a fourth. I lost my temper at a fat teenager on my team, which aroused the attention of a hollow-eyed, acne-scarred faced teenager member of the stafff. He witnessed our shouting match and lost his patience with me, escorted me out. I lost fifteen dollars for pizza and a pitcher of root-beer. (Apparently cardboard topped with rubber is supposed to pass off as food.) I was hungry enough to wash it all down with what I wished was real-beer. I didn’t feel any fuller or happier. I felt lighter in the wallet and cheated.
I lost track of time in there. Like a casino, there are no windows and an excess of bright lights that aren’t steady. The blinding colors blinked in rhythm to artificial noises, in tune with winning this or that. The ch-ch-ching of tokens spitting out from machines that eat dollars was raucous. The hum of feeding tickets into machines that print vouchers for prizes was disturbingly soothing. Aside from the hollow-eyed, acne-scarred faced teenager, the uniformed staff at Totally Tube You World was pretty laid back, almost chipper. I lost my respect for these people. There was simply no joy in a place like this, I decided. I couldn’t see how anyone older than a child would make the conscious choice to show up here, day after day.
I lost to random kids playing Space Invaders, Skee-Ball and Pop-a-Shot (my favorite game). Kids must spend entire summers here, I imagined, training in the arcade like it was their Little League. I was defeated at games that I have played for a lifetime- by kids with real, refined talent. And that bothered me. I had had it with Totally Tube You World. Exiting through the side door forced me to walk through the mini-golf course and past the petting zoo towards the parking lot.
And what do you know…
My moment arrived (upon my departure)
I felt like I had finally won something.
(In reality I was only getting back what I lost)
There he was, wearing my sock.
Incredible, unbelievable, hilarious.