Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dell's Pinball Wizard



Hello,
I would like to introduce a Guest Post from a fellow blogger who shares a story about an unexpected encounter …over to you…and thank you Shady Del Knight..... 

Shocking True Confession! I Was the Dell's Pinball Wizard.....Not a Deaf or Blind Kid...Just Dumb!

How do you think he does it? (I don't know!) What makes him so good?

Did you ever get so good at something that you could practically do it in your sleep? That’s how it was with me and pinball, especially when it came to playing the machine at the Shady Dell, the hangout for teenagers that I frequented in the 60s.  Over the years I played hundreds of games of pinball in the Dell's snack bar.  I became so skilled that winning free games was a breeze.  Practice makes perfect, but perfect sometimes makes enemies. As it turned out, I was too good for my own good!

One afternoon I was deep in concentration in the middle of a pinball game when suddenly a large hand appeared in front of me. The giant claw turned palm downward and loudly clacked several coins onto the glass. “You done soon?” was my interpretation of what the deep voiced stranger uttered. “Oh, yeah, I should be,” I replied as I continued to play. The guy repeated his words, only this time much more slowly and assertively, and this time I got the message loud and clear. The dude wasn't asking me...he was telling me.

“YOU DONE SOON! ME PLAY PINBALL!"

I glanced to my right and there stood a 6-foot, 5-inch, 250 pound Goliath who looked like a bodybuilder, a pro wrestler, a Baltimore Colts line-backer, a Green Beret and a beer joint bouncer rolled into one.  My stress level shot through the roof when I noticed that there was not one guy standing there but two, and the second burly brute made the first one look like Mini-Me! Both behemoths looked angry.

In seconds I came down with a terminal case of dry mouth and broke out in a cold sweat, hands clammy and knees knocking. I knew it would be a fatal error in judgment for me to keep those gentlemen waiting. I elected to do the right thing and deliberately throw the game - take a dive, as it were - but I didn't want to be too obvious about it.  

At first I tried to change my timing so that the flippers would swing too late and miss the ball, allowing it to go down the loser hole. It was no use! After thousands of hours of practice my eye-hand coordination could not be defeated.  Without intending to I kept flipping the ball back up to the top of the playfield.  I simply could not not do my best. I was hardwired to win!

Realizing that it was time to take drastic measures, I shifted into E.A.M. (Emergency Abort Mode), completely removing my hands from the flipper buttons.  Having done so I expected the ball in play to make a beeline for the hole. To my utter amazement that (expletive deleted) machine simply refused to quit.  It seemed possessed by a demon hell-bent on my destruction!

Without any flippers flipping, the bumpers somehow kept bumping, the slingshots kept slinging, the targets kept dinging, and the free games kept popping. The Shady Dell pinball machine was literally playing itself!

With a litany of four-letter words being hurled by the livid lads standing beside me, I made the brilliant deduction that The Amazing Colossal Man and his pal Dellzilla were not amused by my magic trick.  They were measuring me for a casket!

Deciding that it was better to be a live coward than a dead pinball wizard, I gave up trying to get the ball to drop and made a hasty exit, stage left.  I headed out the door and down the path toward the dance hall hoping to get lost in a sea of faces in case the incredible hulks came looking for me. As I walked away in humiliation I could still hear that stubborn hunka junk defiantly dinging and popping!  I hated having to leave behind a dozen free games of pinball for those husky hijackers to inherit, but I had the last laugh......they were gonna have to stand in a puddle to play them!



 

17 comments:

  1. Allie-Millie, you are smart to have Shady guest post. He is one of a kind in a cookie-cutter world.

    The mental image of the machine continuing to play after Shady removed his hands made me laugh out loud. "Better a live coward" indeed. Wisdom is what makes most people GREAT.

    Thanks, both of you!
    Cherdo
    www.cherdoontheflipside.com

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    1. Thank you, dear friend Cherdo. I guarantee that everything in this story is true except for the puddle on the floor at the end. :)

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    2. Hi Cherdo,

      Thank you for your post - yes sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. I could almost hear and see the pinballs pinging when reading the story and I love the reference to the flippers - there's quite a bit of skill in getting free games, so nice work all around. cheers

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  2. That was such a funny story! Winning free games is not easy for most and you had to give them up. Too bad for bullies! Too bad they stopped making pinball machines--another thing of the past --gone! When we owned to dell we put another pinball machine in there just for old times sake. It was Bally's called "Fire power". It was played a lot by my son and friends who lived there at the time. By the time we did the renovations, it was taking out in pieces--never knew what ever happened to that machine???
    P.S. Shady, were you REALLY kidding about the puddle????
    Thanks, Allie for this fun post of about my friend , Shady!
    Toni Deroche

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    1. Hi, Toni! Thank you very much for coming all the way to the land down under to visit Allie-Millie's fine blog. I remember that pinball machine you had in the Dell's snack bar in the new millennium. I'm pretty sure the one I played there in the 60s was made by Gottlieb and the card game in the picture at the top of this post looks very familiar to me. It might be the same game I was playing that fateful day! Yessum, I was joking about leaving a puddle on the floor but every other detail was true!

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    2. Hi Toni,

      Thank you, you're welcome and pleased you enjoyed the fun post!

      Cheers

      Allie-Millie

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  3. You should have left the puddle!!
    I was always lousy at pinball.

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    1. Hi, dear Susie! To say that the Dell's pinball machine was user friendly would be an understatement. You could shake it hard forward and back or side to side and it wouldn't tilt. That made wining a lot easier.

      Thanks for your visit and comment, dear friend!

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  4. Haha, couldn't have been a better ending, and, I love your illustration of how a million things goes through your mind as you anticipate sudden death! I, too, loved pinball!

    Thank you Allie-Millie!

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    1. Thank you very much for reading and commenting, dear friend Suzanne!

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  5. Written in true, cool, Shady fashion! Great story! It's good to hear about the Dell and realize it was more than just a dance hall that played great tunes! Do you have a pinball machine in your home today? Maybe you need to get one! Thanks for letting me visit today!

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    1. Hi, YaYa! I'd love to have a vintage pinball machine in my home but Mrs. Shady keeps reminding me that we have no space for it. I'd also love to have a pool table but can't get one for the same reason. I'd also love to have a dart board...

      Shucks, I need a man cave! :)

      Thank you very much for your comment, dear friend YaYa!

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  6. Hi Yaya,

    Might I add too I didn't realise after all l have read about the loca Dell hangout, that it also had other activities akin to a games parlour, maybe on a slightly smaller scale:) how about a juke box, now you are really talking, thanks for visiting, Yaya cheers Allie-Millie

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    1. Yessum, Allie-Millie, the Shady Dell had two jukeboxes - one in the dance hall and one in the snack bar near the pinball machine. Around 1970, the Ettlines downsized the food service part of their business, removed all the diner style booths from the restaurant/snack bar and installed a foosball table. A pool table replaced the foosball table a few years later.

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  7. Love this story, Shady! Isn't it amazing that you tried to lose and couldn't? Sometimes that happened to me when I was playing a game with my kids and wanted to let them win. I'm glad they didn't beat you up - you did the right thing. At high school, some girl was mad at me and someone told me she wanted to fight me. Me! I wouldn't know how to fight a kitten. Anyway, I avoided that girl all year long. Whew!

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    1. Hi, dear Belle! Thank you very much for reading my story and supporting Allie-Millie's blog. I've never been the confrontational type and don't understand people who are. It makes me sad to know that you were essentially bullied by that girl in school since she created stress in your life and caused you to avoid her all year. I wish I could have been there to comfort you.

      Thank you again, dear friend Belle! Have a great week and I'll talk to you again soon!

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