Monday, May 22, 2006

Check me, like, totally out:

But this will only apply on Monday, May 22, 2006. After that, I'm just me again.

Speaking of me, I had a terrific time in Tahoe. Max's game is black jack. He knows about when to hit and when to stay, when to split aces and when to double against a ten (never, apparently). He's a good tipper and friendly guy, and truly seems to enjoy himself at the tables.

Then there's me. I like to play skee ball.

Our hotel had an arcade in it so I was happy as a clam. They had 2 mediocre pinball machines (Lord of the Rings--feh--and Batman, the one with half-naked Kim Basinger on it. Shudder.) and I played my first Dance Dance Revolution ever (did you know that a video game can "boo" and "hiss" at you?). But the skee ball was unreal. Something truly amazing took place in that dark room full of epilepsy waiting to happen.

See, I never play the end lane, it seems to squished for the wide range of skee ball motion necessary to dominate the game. I usually pick the lane second from the right. It's just my thing. But for some reason on Saturday, after about 3 games, I moved to the furthest left lane and after about 10 seconds, I realized what was happening. Every time the game started a new play, the points meter would instantly register 450, regardless of the actual points being scored, and the ticket dispenser would spit out 20 tickets. Now, my average game that day was closer to 240 (I never said I was good at skee ball, just that I like it) which is worth 7 tickets. After about 6 consecutive 450 ill-gotten point games, it dawned on me that my game card (tokens are so 2005) had about 2000 points on it, and one game of skee ball was worth 21 points. I could stay here at this wonderfully busted lane and play...a hell of a lot of games of skee ball. And "win" 20 tickets per game. I played for a while, but I kept getting really nervous. How could they not know that the machine was malfunctioning? Would they be suspicious when a 30 year old chick wearing Bermuda shorts and flip flops stepped up to the prize counter with a bazillion tickets? Could I get arrested for this? Which prizes would I choose in exchange for my morally questionable tickets?

I kept freaking myself out with these questions, and every so often I would leave the busted skee ball lane, feed my pile tickets into the automatic ticket redemption machine (counting your own tickets is so 2005) and go play mediocre pinball. But the lure of the Broken Skee Ball Machine kept calling me, and I returned to the Lane of Temptation again and again. It wasn't my fault the machine was malfunctioning. It was a victimless crime. Right? Right.

By the end of the afternoon, I had acquired 2,180 tickets. I had played 109 games of skee ball. I had hurled 981 heavy little plastic spheres at the funnel-shaped targets. I walked up to prize counter and handed my ticket count receipts to the 17 year old counter boy with the droopy expression.

Me: "Let's see..."
Him: "..."
Me: "Hmmmm."
Him: "..."
Me: "I'll take one yellow Care Bear."
Him: "OK."
Me: "And one purple Care Bear."
Him: "OK."
Me: "And one blue Care Bear."
Him: "..."
Me: "And the Monkey Care Bear, er, the Care Monkey."
Him: "..."
Me: "What is that one? A dog?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "I'll take that one. Oh, it's a lion. It's not a dog. It's a Care Lion."
Him: "Yeah, it's a lion."
Me: "And that pink one. The Care Elephant."
Him: "OK."
Me: "How many tickets is that?"
Him: "1,800."
Me: "I'll take the balance in Pop Rocks."
Him: "..."

And I left the arcade with 6 Care Bears and 8 packets of Pop Rocks.

And my arm is KILLING me.

Best. Tahoe. Trip. Ever.


lizelliott said...

cassidy really likes care bears. i'm just sayin, what a better way to pass on your legacy than to share your collection with the youth.
ps-that story is like a dream come true.

anchovy said...

That skee ball story is just awesome! I actually have a recurring dream along the same lines featuring a vending machine that returns more than you put it. Way to stick it to the man!