IIRC, it was sometime in 1972 and I was out with my dad. I can't remember exactly where I was, but we were walking when lo and behold, the great pinball god made a Bally Fireball appear in my sight. I recall quite clearly, at the ripe old age of 9 asking my dad "what is that" to which he told me about pinball. It was also the first time he told me that his father (my grandfather) was the first person to bring pinball machines and jukeboxes into the State of Michigan.
(So I must have genetically had pinball in me)
He put in a nickel (or a dime), and I played my first game of pinball and was amazed at how cool it really was.
I played pinball on and off during my teens, and when I went off to the University of Michigan, the era of the video game had just begun. Skipping all the illustrious history of video games and my love of them, I will say that I remember the plethora of arcades in Ann Arbor and the days all of the 'greats' of the '80's came out all shiny and new, like Gorgar, Xenon, Black Knight, Blackout, Firepower, Space Invaders, and the rest. In my dorm (South Quad), we had a Joker Poker machine in the basement that saw a ton of use.
Fast forward to 1987. I was dating my (now) ex-wife and her family had a 1964 Chicago Coin Mustang which they had since it was brand new. My ex-wife actually shattered her ankle when as a kid she and her friends tried to move the machine and it tipped over on her. In '87, her mother was moving from the home and called us to tell us she was throwing out the machine and it was at the curb. I remember high-tailing it over in my ex's Ford Escort and cramming the Mustang into the back in which it barely fit. That was my first acquisition of a pinball machine and I still have it!
My next machine was a Bally Xenon which I bought in the late '90s from the west side of the state. I had that machine for a short time and got rid of, but almost immediately found a Black Knight..
My original intent was to buy, play, refurbish, trade/sell and continue to get new machines. Somewhere in that process, the last step got deleted, and I seem to just continue to accumulate pins, starting with my HUO CV and continuing to what I have today...
I'm pretty convinced I'm genetically a pin-head.