America's Love Affair with the Mall

Growing up in an American suburb, it is tough to find real exciting things to do to past the time. Boredom usually comes frequently and in high doses in the suburbs. To pass the time, I harvest synthetic wheat that I grow in a greenhouse in my basement. But not everybody is like me. For most people living in the suburbs, the best way to fight boredom is to go to the mall.

Although I am a busy man, I do occasionly find time to go to the mall, whether with friends or family, and, although I'm not a full fledged mall rat, I still think that I know enough about malls to write about them.

A common way to enter a mall is to go through a department store, like Sears or Macy's. Now although department stores are connected to the mall, they should not be considered part of the mall, since it is a completely different atmosphere. Department stores are brightly lit, spread out, less crowded, and there is always soft music playing in the background. I never liked department stores, so I usually just walk as fast as possible through them as I approach the entrance to the mall. At the point where the department store meets the rest of the mall, there is an invisible line drawn. On one side of the line is the safe, quiet atmosphere of the department store, but on the other side is the noisy, harsh, dog-eat-dog world of the mall. It takes a strong will and a brave heart to cross over to the other side.

Now there are two main things that strike people about malls, the variety of strange and interesting stores, and the variety of strange and interesting people. I think I'll start with the stores. If there is anything that you are remotely interested in there is probably a store in the mall devoted to nothing but that. I've been in stores that sell nothing but coffee beans, nothing but tye-dyed clothing, and nothing but cigars and pipes. It is amazing, but these are just gimmick stores. Aside from the gimmick stores there are your usual music stores, book stores, clothes stores, shoe stores, computer/electronics stores, and food stores. I've been in all these type of stores except one, the clothes stores. The clothes stores that are located in the main part of the mall tend to be a bit trendy. I am not trendy. I rather buy my shirts at K-Mart for ten bucks each, and save the money. I feel intimidated to go into those stores because everybody is all dressed nice and I come in wearing a pair of shorts, a dirty t-shirt, and a baseball cap. And did you ever see the people that work there? If I gained a few more pounds, I would out-weigh the entire staff of the Gap. Also they sell a lot of denim at those places, and I don't wear denim. I am perhaps the only member of my generation to never have worn a pair of jeans. I am very proud of this accomplishment. The type of store that I do spend the most amount of time in, is the bookstore. I get lost in bookstores, I can spend hours there. I rarely buy books, because I just read them there. I grab a book and venture off to the far corner of the Religion/New Age section, where nobody goes, and I sit and read. Sometimes if it is a long book, I pack a lunch and eat it there. But when I do buy books it is fun seeing the reaction of the cashier when I come up with the Communist Manifesto and a book of Malcolm X speeches. I always get a raised eyebrow. Well enough with stores, on to people.

A person can find every type of person, whether by race, creed, or religion, somewhere in the mall. I look at the mall as a zoo. I sometimes just sit on a bench and watch all the people scurry by. Occasionly I bring a bag of peanuts to feed the people, but they don't really like to be pelted by peanut shells, and sometimes they attack me. If I had my way, there would be cages in the mall to protect myself from the wild people. One breed of people consists of teenagers who wear weird clothes, sport long chains, and have funky hair. They usually roam together in large herds, and I call this species of people freaks. Everybody tries to look different and they just end up looking all the same. I hate freaks almost as much as those people who just stand still on the escalator. Just because the thing is moving doesn't mean that you can't also walk up it too. Does it take that much more energy? Well I had enough, so I think I'll stop here, it doesn't look good when the Weekly Whack is longer than the monthly story.

So in conclusion, inorganic grain is the wave of the future, malls are our modern day temples and shrines, and just be yourself and you'll be different.

This week I'll give you the top ten stores in the mall that I never go into:
10. Petite Sophisticated
9. Any store that sells jewelry
8. General Nutrition Center
7. Gap
6. Gap Kids
5. Yarn Barn
4. This End Up
3. Bannana Republic
2. Lady Footlocker
1. Wall to Wall Tobacco

(note: if any of the stores are unfamiliar then it is probably because they are only found in my area.)