Between the ages of 9 and 13 I had a serious PINBALL addiction. When I had emptied any savings I had left, or I had completely spent the little change I’d earned massaging my Mom’s feet or helping my Dad in th...e garden to feed the machines, I resorted to dropping all the silver quarters and Mercury dimes in my coin collection (that my grandfather had picked out for me from all the tabs and tips he’d received from the desperate alcoholics at his bartending job at Schuler’s Tavern) into the games like a true junky pinball-wizard. When I was totally tapped out, I started stealing quarters from my family members to keep the habit going.
The sounds of the ball hitting the bumpers, the flags dropping, the spring of the plunger, the clacking analog score keepers turning, the thrill of the challenge, the flashy, sexy artwork, the flippers… shaking the f**k outta the machine to get better rebounds… TILT! …and every gamer’s favorite, SPECIAL WHEN LIT… EXTRA BALL… and the ultimate POP! Like a freakin’ orgasmic climax every time!
I was fortunate to have discovered the game at its height of popularity… Elton John’s version of Pinball Wizard could be heard pumping out of a New Jersey corner store’s AM Radio at the back of the shop where me and kids my age would be trying to impress the smoking and cursing teenagers with our own foul mouths and derelict talk, taking dares to inhale from the smokes they’d pass us, and answering their horny questions about our older sisters and our own budding masculinity.
It was with great disappointment that I’d walk into one of my local candy stores to discover a favorite machine had been swapped out for a newer or a different game, yet sometimes equally exciting to play the machine that’d taken its place. However, when the first digital machines began appearing, the novelty of the technology was no match for the connection I’d felt “feeling” and interacting with the older, rickety pinball tables. It was around that time that my interest in the machines began to wane and my pinball craving was being replaced by another addiction… a passion for Rock n Roll and to play music.

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