"Cause down the shore everything's all right / You and your baby on a Saturday night / You know all my dreams come true / When I'm walking down the street with you." - Tom Waits
Like any true Jersey Boi, my summers are always peppered with weekend trips to the Shore. The Shore is a fascinating place, because it creates a bond between all New Jerseyians regardless of their ethnicity, body type, interests and hobbies, etc. Some people like swimming and the beach, others like the serene atmosphere. Currently, I love going down and being able to drink all day and eat shitty pizza at night. But, as a child, trips to Jersey Shore meant I was just a hot 3-hour car ride away from one thing: ARCADES.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for flashing lights - I do love Las Vegas and Times Square - but arcades hypnotized me as a child. A fistful of quarters meant hours of fun. My favorite time killers were the "beat-em-ups" - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, The Simpsons, etc. I also loved games where you would win tickets for prizes (the most famous being Skee-Ball). I pop in a quarter, have fun, and then can exchange tickets for Styrofoam airplanes? Sweet deal.
But, there was a game I absolutely hated: the mechanical basketball hoops thing. What were the point of these things? Arcade games usually appeal to the human id, allowing us to revel in greed (seeing how many tickets we can earn with just one quarter) or violence (many games have plastic guns attached to them). But those mechanical basketball hoops machines? I don't have to go to an arcade to play basketball! Nevertheless, my basketball junkie side sometimes got the best of me, and I would take a turn playing. And, man, it was ALWAYS super shitty. First, you are shooting flat basketballs that have been manhandled by booger-pickers all day long. Second, the rim is usually placed about a foot from the ceiling, mean you have to have NO ARC on your shot. Third, you have a time limit, so there's no time to figure out how to shoot UP at the hoop and make it in as the ball is still moving upwards. And, to top it off, most of the time you did not earn tickets from this game. Fuck that shit.
So what does this have to do with the Nets? Well, in my latest excursion to the Shore a few weeks ago, I saw those dreaded machines. And, sure enough, the Nets now sponsored them...
...and sure enough, their machine was broken. The New Jersey Nets: proud sponsors of a dumb game with a machine that does not even work. If there is a sadder but more appropriate image than that above, please let me know.