My whole family took a little trip to a fun center out by my parents’ lake house this week. The venue had a ton of options including laser tag, trampolines, bumper cars, an escape room, glow in the dark golf and a big arcade. We spent the first twenty minutes trying not to trip over each other while chasing glow in the dark golf balls around the second floor. While doing so I learned two things – my golf game does not improve in the dark and my daughter has not outgrown her poor sportsmanship phase. She makes Happy Gilmore look like a the Dalai Lama. She took about a hundred swings and picked up her ball more than once, but the lights were out so apparently nobody was supposed to see her shenanigans.

While we were checking out the arcade games we noticed a group of adult men hanging around. They were playing an arcade game as if there were valuable prizes on the line for winning. I don’t know if they had perused the prize center, but it was mostly landfill and sugar. Maybe they were anxious to get their hands on a pillow shaped like a giant turd for 2,000 tickets.

As we watched these grown men walk around the place talking to groups of young boys playing games, offering advice on the best way to get their name on the winners board, my parents discussed the probability of them being pedophiles on the prowl. I was ready to agree until the largest of the men turned around and I saw his face. It looked as if someone had taken a sharpie to him after he passed out the night before and etched a thin handlebar moustache on his cheeks.  He was also wearing what appeared to be a Captain America t-shirt that only covered the top two thirds of his beer gut. I questioned whether or not a pedophile would try to draw that much attention to himself. Then again, I have seen news stories of some criminal who got caught robbing a bank due to the surveillance footage of a giant tattoo on his forehead reading “thug for life”.

Jumping on the trampoline was fun but I was quickly reminded that I am a middle aged woman who should not jump around like a teenager unless I do more kegel exercises. Every time my feet hit the floor I peed my pants a little. Some activities really should have age limits. This was one of those times I would have actually appreciated a sign to protect me from myself – specifically one that read “caution! jumping may make you wet your pants”.

Laser tag was mostly me hiding in a corner trying to outsmart my husband as he chased Riley around in the dark. I heard screams of “don’t shoot me daddy!” from across the room so of course I went to her rescue. She apparently takes laser tag even more seriously than glow golf. I hugged her as she sobbed into my blue flashing vest “Daddy just keeps shooting me. It’s not fair” which really meant “I”m not winning and this game sucks”. I promised to help her sufficiently destroy her father before the game was over. We attacked him from both sides as the door to freedom opened. 

We decided it was time to leave when we reentered the arcade and found Snidely Whiplash chatting up a couple soccer moms and their kids. We cashed in our tickets and stood around the counter as my daughter tried to decide between an emoji ball and an unnamed toy that was basically a tube of slime. She settled on a blue slime tube. I watched my daughter trying to ram her entire fist through the center of her new toy while walking to the car, and I realized what all the creepy old dudes were turning in their tickets for. This little unnamed prize was actually very similar to a sex toy for men. I guess the family fun center really does offer something for everyone. If we ever return i’m not going to argue if our pile of tickets turns into a sparkly unicorn poop pillow.

I wrote this while listening to The Melvins.