Friday, April 13, 2012

Who needs Walmart?

In less than a year, I'll have lived in the United States for 30 years. It's already more than half my life. I'm an American citizen, as are my three kids. I even know all the words to the National Anthem. Well, I sometimes get the word order a bit muddled around that broad stars, bright stripes bit. . . uh, bright stars . . . white stripes . . . smashing pumpk--

(And, as I tell the offspring, even though they now dwell among the wicked investment bankers in the Marvelous Leafy Land of Rye -- "Greenwich Lite" -- they were all born in New York, New York. Manhattan. The center of the gosh-darn universe. In New York Hospital.)

But it's still a joy, every once in a while, to have a new classic American cultural experience. And a few weeks ago, my beloved goddaughter, Lily, celebrated her birthday in a Long Island establishment owned by a Mr. Charles (Chuck) E. Cheese.

Lily and her dad, my buddy Ryan
And it was great. Well-organized, clean, professional, decent pizza, plenty for the guys to do, well-trained and friendly staff. No complaints -- I just take my hat off, as I do for that other corporate Mouse, when a business sets out to do one thing well and succeeds.

So no satirical comments about the venue. Just a couple of observations. Like another first experience -- the observation of an amazing poufed-up and suspiciously dark-brown mullet haircut on a middle-aged customer, complete with a compensatory bald spot on the back.

And, as I was successfully bonding with Lily, whom I do not see anywhere near enough (and I'm sure my three other goddaughters, all teenagers now, could confirm my criminal elusiveness), having her little cousin come up to us, look at me critically, and ask: "Are you Lily's aunt?"

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