Like most divorced men in their 40s who were recently kicked out of their apartment after losing a game of hoops to their 73-year-old landlord (I got Uncle Drew’d), I eat a lot of my meals alone at my local Rainforest Cafe.
One day, after intentionally moving the table so that the server bringing my Amazon Corn Chowder would spill it all over me and I’d be comped a free meal (my genitals are already ruined, so a few more burns don't matter), the restaurant's simulated thunderstorm started up. Anyone who has ever spent three hours reading over their divorce papers in a Rainforest Cafe knows these occur three times an hour and the animals create a ruckus. No matter how loudly you yell at these robotic affronts to God to shut the hell up, they do not stop; they obey no man.
So I got to thinking: someone should destroy these things, and why not me? I pulled on the pair of camo shorts with the biggest cargo pockets I own, took some of my son’s ADHD medicine, and started planning out how I could kill these unholy creations.
When hunting the animatronics in the Rainforest Cafe, the most important thing to remember is that the only difference between you and them is your functions. They are machines built to create ambiance in a novelty restaurant. You are a machine built to kill those other machines in such a way that your ex-wife hears about it and is so impressed that she lets you crash on her and her new husband’s couch because you no longer have a place to live.
Thus, before the hunt began, I spent several weeks trying to get into the mindset of my prey by posing as an animatronic next to them. Unfortunately, every time I tried to impersonate a robot, it made a child cry (just eat your Python Pasta and shut the hell up, dude) and an employee would inevitably ask me to leave.
Though I was not able to prepare as much as I would have hoped, I armed myself with nothing but my fists (and the pair of brass knuckles my older brother gave me when I was 14) and hid in a bin of stuffed animals in the gift shop. Once the store closed and the lights went out, my killer instincts went on.
I was a bit nervous, especially because I already had two strikes against me with the mall security guard (the way I conducted myself in Lids on two separate occasions was regrettable, to say the least). Still, I crawled across the floor that was somehow simultaneously sticky and greasy, and sprung up on the gorilla. I gave it a few punches, but I hadn’t realized how strong the metal inside that dense gorilla is, and I hurt my right hand pretty badly (which is the hand I use to brush a lady’s hair over her ear while we make-out. I hadn’t done so in a while, but I’d been thinking about the possibility of potentially entertaining the notion of maybe getting back into dating, so there was no way I could risk further damage). Ultimately, I decided that the gorilla was actually a very important part of the ecosystem, and let him live, and that choice had nothing to do with my inability to damage it.
Following my brave decision to spare the gorilla’s life, I crept silently through the shadows to sneak up on the horrific animatronic face that was encased in the restaurant's fake tree. I was about to yank off all the rubber that covered up its robotic interior, when I realized there was something kind of…sexy about it. Like any other hunter in my situation, I allowed Cupid to strike me with his arrow and had a forty-five minute, adrenaline-fueled make-out session with the animatronic face inside the fake tree at the Rainforest Cafe. (I even used my right hand to brush some of its leaves over its branches.)
Unfortunately, the night was cut short when I got electrocuted trying to take down the alligator in the wishing well. I was easily able to pry the top of its mouth off, but standing in water while ripping apart something that had electrical current running through it wasn’t the wisest choice I made that night. I was fried like my favorite Rainforest Cafe dish, the Caribbean Coconut Shrimp (which, as we all know, is served with a side of coleslaw, mango sauce, and I usually opt for the Safari Fries as my choice of side).
Anyway, when I woke up, I found out that I had been in a coma for 11 months and the Rainforest Cafe had banned me from all their locations worldwide.
A lot of people will call into question whether or not attacking robots in a theme restaurant can be considered a sport. It’s true, the animatronics are not technically alive; the best they can do to defend themselves is move their arms slowly up and down and, maybe if they’re one of the newer models, blink. But I’ve been in my fair share of fights, and I can tell you that moving your arms slowly up and down and blinking is 90% of the battle.
Though I can never eat at my favorite restaurant again, I nearly died, and I racked up medical bills so high that I’ve been considering faking my own death to avoid paying it, I don’t regret a thing. I knew the risks before I started.
That’s why they call the animatronics at the Rainforest Cafe the most dangerous game.