Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Rest of the Story
The postmodern reality-creation site Wikipedia has, for better or worse, eliminated the need for encyclopedias. Having instant access to information on virtually every movie, album, insect, philosophy, etc helps break down the limits of education. However, the fact that anyone can contribute occasionally makes the content little more than entertainment. But this is the beauty of the internet - anyone can write fiction. Josh shared a vandalized page about Count Chocula with me the other day that was way more interesting than any real information could've been. It reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago, my own constructed reality of a beloved childhood character. So instead of boring you with an argument for or against plentiful, but distorted knowledge, I'll leave you with my story. Because as a writer with a mischievous heart, sometimes I don't like to get my facts straight.
As a child, young Charles couldn't stay focused long enough to tie his shoes. He failed every class in elementary school except gym. He was the kid who pulled the fire alarm. The kid the entire class had to wait for as he finished his subtraction problems. The kid who threw spit balls. His father was a traveling cummerbund salesman and his mother seemed to hop on the back of any motorcycle driven by a mustachioed man with 'Shut Up Bitch' tattooed on his arm. By the time Charles was in high school, he wasn't running with a bad crowd - he was the bad crowd. If he decided to show up to school, he was usually on some sort of hallucinogen, barbiturate, or combination of the two. Escaping through drugs became an obsession for Charles. He would sit in his bedroom, trip or shroom, and imagine that his stuffed animals were playing the music he heard on his stereo. He even believed his pet rat led the dancing. The only things that occupied his time were video games, personal puppet shows, and pinball. What most would see as an unsatisfying, depressing existence for young Charles, he found to be a lot of fun. After a while, neighbor kids heard about all the fun he was having and began joining him in his bedroom. They played games all day and watched him put on his puppet shows to music, but, fortunately, they were not allowed to touch the drugs. It became the hot spot for neighborhood kids ages 2-12. Charles started charging admission and even saved enough money to move into a loft across town. His operation became so big a businessman approached him and offered to help him start franchising his business out. He went on to make millions, owning hundreds of 'funspots' across America. That young drug-crazed visionary was none other than Charles Edgar Cheese, or Chuck E. Cheese as you might know him.