Nickelcade is quite a place. With a 2 dollar cover charge, one can spend a delightful evening pumping nickels into age old video games. In addition, tickets are given out for skeeball, hoop shoot, money drop and other lively amusements.
The best thing about Nickelcade is that I get to make trailer park friends without actually living in a trailer park! As a wondered the joint, I noticed I was the best dressed man in the place - and I was wearing overalls and a straw hat. Strange adult men with pockets full of nickels and handfuls of tickets stood at 30 year old Centipede and Mario Brothers games, reliving their adolescence.
I love the skeeball. It's like bowling without the complicated scoring and the hand drier. Actually, skeeball is what bowling should be. Instead of pins, we should be aiming the ball at big, round holes marked with different scores. However, skeeball is the most humiliating when the ball goes past the plastic casing - rattles around - and then roles right back to you. It is like an ultra gutterball and you can feel it right in your gut. If this ever happens to you, your best move is to turn around, leave the rest of the balls and walk slowly away. Dignity is so very fragile when you are standing at a Nickelcade skeeball machine.
Once our nickels ran out, we gathered our tickets and attempted to leave. I say attempted because we spent the next half hour gazing through a glass shelf full of worthless crap. I say a half an hour because getting a seven year old to pick a couple pieces of crap items from a giant shelf of piece of crap items is nearly impossible. I say piece of crap items because honestly, there is not a single thing that I would take home if they were giving them out for free. I spent the entire half hour saying things like this:
"Lincoln, you can get the kazoo and the whoopee cushion, but not the Chinese handcuffs."
"Lincoln, just pick something! How bout the giant bouncy ball and the ridiculously oversized penny?"
"Alright Lincoln. This is getting really old. Just get the wax lips and the bendy pencil and lets get the heck out of here!"
That poor ticket taker lady. She must be the most patient person in the world. Day after day - hoards of wavering, rueful kids slobbering over year old candy and corny, drossy garbage. All for ten bucks an hour. Ah, the gilded life of a princess ticket lady.
Our evening ended appropriately at McDonalds - the king of the all things redneck. Of course, Lincoln and Calder - fresh off settling on their colossal bouncing balls - spent most of the evening on the McDonalds floor, chasing the balls through the "restaurant" like they were runaway kittens. Fortunately, the McPloyees had just drug a filthy mop over the McTiles and the place was shiny McClean. Truly, our classy night of redneck glory had come full circle.
Honestly, it was all great fun, and I would loooooove to go at it one more round. That skeeball machine has not seen the best of me yet! Thank you Ty and Daphne for the evening of posh and delight.
The most important thing I learned from the evening: The economy may be in shambles, but the value of a Nickelcade ticket to a creepy old guy remains sky high.