There was a pinball machine in the local laundromat called “Diner” with images of food, waitresses, and voices of demanding customers from a delightful yet carefully calculated array of nationalities. Most of the time, particularly when it was really hot outside, the left flipper was mushy and sticky when you pressed the button. Eventually, one of the ramps stopped working, the bonuses stopped coming, and the ball would get stuck in the upper left corner more and more often.

Today when I stepped into the laundromat, I knew something was different. My eyes flew to the corner – Diner was gone. Jokerz had arrived. I didn’t get a chance to try it out as there were approximately 6.7 small children climbing all over it, repeatedly bashing the buttons, rapping on the glass, and shaking it. When I think about it, I suppose I’m rather surprised that Diner lasted as long as it did, despite its slow decent into disfunctionality – at least five years, maybe more. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel the same way about Jokerz – after all, it’s easier to emotionally bond with images of delicious food and visages of fun restaurant visits than a deck of cards and a strangely maniacal-looking jester. I’m pretty sure that’s an objective fact rather than a subjective opinion. *grin*

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