I went mini-golfing yesterday, and it was fabulous as mini-golf tends to be. After the main event, we stuck around to play games at the castle-themed arcade (sidebar, why are mini-golf places always shaped like castles? Did they used to play mini-golf in medieval times? Were knights lining up to put brightly colored balls into holes in astroturf?). I was never big on video games, but I loves me some skeeball. Skeeball is, as they say, The Shit.
Castles and mini-golf. What's the connection?
But the point of this story is not to recount our nostalgic evening trying recapture our childhood. I bring this up because I witnessed something very disturbing at Sherman Oaks Castle Park. Not one child, but TWO children came up to us and asked us for spare tokens! Like friggin' orphans from Oliver Twist all strung out on Dance Dance Revolution and Cruisin' USA (that's a thing, right?). "Please sir, I'd like some more...tokens!!!!" The nerve of these children! One of which couldn't have been more than five or six. Who taught him that it was ok to go up to total strangers, looking all cute and pathetic and panhandle for another round of Buckshot Something-or-Other?
Ya greedy bastard!
My first thought was, where are their parents? Did they just dump them off at the arcade so they could go have grown-up time (meaning intravenous drug abuse and unprotected sex?) But then it occurred to me that if they had such parents, these children were probably never taught that it was wrong to beg. I just wanted to shake this poor little boy and say, "You want tokens? Get a job and buy your own damn tokens! Because this is Amer'ca, goddammit!" But then I would be the one kicked out and not this charming little vagrant.
I just really love skeeball.
One kid even tried to get into our good graces by offering color commentary as we played a very confusing safari game consisting of shooting at giant spiders and flies (for no particular reason). I was like, dude, occupado! After the game was over, he asked for spare tokens again! This just went against everything I stood for! Especially because those tokens were not cheap. (Even though we got a half-off coupon...)
So the point is, this could potentially be an epidemic! Are America's youth being taught that if you bat your eyes and stick out your lower lip, people will just drop hours of free video game play in your lap? I say NO! Not in my backyard!