My So Charmed Life

Does this look like fun to you?


Molly and I spent a week at our beloved Rehoboth Beach Delaware this August, basking in the sun and ocean, eating horrific but delicious junk food and chasing Amish people with our camera (another story for another time)… but the thing we did the most, or at least with the most intensity was… gambling at Funland. For this I am certain that I am destined for the Bad Mom Hall of Fame, but damn it, it was FUN. Why do you think they call it Funland??

Because it looks like a prison camp for (gasp) Bad Mommies, complete with monochromatic concrete slab architecture, a frightening guard tower (clearly manned by an armed guard stationed to kill the Bad Moms), ominous hovering gulls that resemble bats, and possibly the worst use of Helvetica ever imagined?

Nope, none of those things. They call it Funland because you can pump quarters into insanely noisy colorful machines, like the one pictured above, for endless hours and win prizes such as the one pictured below.

Funland is actually really fun. As a grown-up, you think you are going to hate it. Stepping inside this Barracks of Fun, you wish you had doubled up on your anti-anxiety meds. There is so much noise and color and so many kids racing around feverishly out of control that you think you may throw up. Then you put a few quarters into a few slots and watch those tickets come flying out. You start to buy into the promise of hitting a JACKPOT. And in minutes, your entire vacation budget is about to be blown to smithereens.

This was our favorite machine. Within the first 10 minutes of our first night at Funland, I hit that freaking jackpot when the machine had reached 567 points. Tickets spilled out for over 8 minutes while kids gathered round, jaws dropping, eyes glistening with envy. It was somehow both embarrassing, and glorious.

The loot. Molly and I high-fived for about a half-hour. I had a sense that this was how it felt to be lugging around a stuffed animal the size of a human being that you’ve just won for your kid. I never win anything!! It was a blast!

This photo really captures the energy of Funland. Molly does not think that at age Mid-Century I am too old to go on carnival rides so here I am, lurching camera in hand, riding the wacky tea cups and wondering if my dinner (Pizza from Louie’s. Again.) is going to come flying back up and out of my mouth.

At the end of our beach week, we cashed in. Molly had carefully folded our massive quantity of tickets so they could be easily fed into the Ticket Muncher machine, which handles the math, and spits out a reciept for you to take to the prize counter and drive some poor teenager to a life of underage drinking while you agonize for an hour, reversing decisions, asking to see and touch everything, &tc, &tc, &tc.

Kids passing by while we were feeding the machine were incredulous. 2033 tickets =  a LOT of Funland crap merchandise. We cashed in for THREE glitter lamps (kind of like a lava lamp only better), a Funland coffee mug and other tschochkes. We’d spent about $50 during our two visits, and had the time of our lives.

Memo to parents: It’s lots more fun than it looks and your kids will love you more than they ever have for any reason, good or bad. And, set a spending limit before you even head to the beach. Then… let yourself go go go even though you can’t afford to put gas in your car!