So the main attraction at the Great Wolf Lodge resorts is supposed to be the huge, completely awesome, indoor water park. It’s actually a decent deal because your water park passes are included with your hotel stay, but they make their money off of people like us:
Boy One is the perfect combination of addictive personality and electronics junkie and he can not – CAN NOT – walk by an arcade without going inside. When he’s in the arcade, he is in his element, along with all of the other scrawny, pasty kids that look like their eyes haven’t left the screen or seen sunlight in about two years. He probably has the makings of a fairly serious gambling addiction. He enters the arcade like he is Rain Man (or Alan from The Hangover), coming down the escalator, ready to count some cards. I should probably discourage this behavior or preemptively send him to some Gambling Anonymous classes or something, but it’s actually kind of fun to watch him do his thing.
So anyway, I play the part of Charlie Babbitt and enter the arcade behind him. He pauses to get the lay of the floor and scope out the hot machines. He first goes for a claw game full of rolls of tickets. He expertly maneuvers the claw and nets 125 tickets in one grab. Bam! Then he moves on to a wheel-spinning game and gains another 40. He’s on a streak and it continues for the 45 minutes that my $75 worth of tokens lasts. He ends up with about 700 tickets and he’s happy with his take. Then comes the fun part.
With the money I spent, which took me roughly half of a workday to earn, he can cash in his tickets for a small pillow shaped like a smiley face, a two-ounce bottle of disappearing ink, or a miscellaneous combination of single pieces of candy and slappy bracelets. Hey, at least he got 45 minutes worth of fun out of it though, right?
But he has his eye on this “Annoying Orange” talking plush toy, which is apparently the brand of some “You-Tuber” that he is a follower of. Most of these You-Tubers are incredibly annoying, and this one even has the word “annoying” in its name so you know it has to be one of the worst. He doesn’t have nearly enough tickets, so I’m trying to explain to him that he needs to pick something else when The Husband comes up to tell me he’s figured out how to beat the house. There is a Connect Four game – winner gets 50 tickets and loser gets 20 tickets, so we’re guaranteed 70 tickets each game. So, rather than teaching Boy One to live within his means and avoid excessive gambling, we spend another $15 on tokens and play each other on Connect Four while the tickets pour in and Boy One cheers us on. And yes, a portion of our drive home was spent calculating how many tokens we would have needed to buy to get the 20,000 tickets for the Xbox prize (about $600 worth) while listening to the Annoying Orange incessantly repeat its three annoying phrases until Boy Two thankfully managed to “accidentally” break it. $90 well spent.