Take Me Out to the Mall Game

4 Jan

by Roger White

The wife dragged me to the mall last weekend under the premise that our kitchen needed new accessories because of our new stove. This immediately worried me, for I feared the domino theory of home renovation had surely been set in motion. The kitchen needs a makeover to match the stove; hence, the breakfast nook requires a revamp to go with the kitchen. You get it. The living room’s connected to the breakfast nook. The den bone’s connected to the hall bone. And on down until you’ve covered every cranny of your quaint little home’s anatomy.

Now, we did plod through Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, looking at hand-hammered copper whisks and all-clad stainless steel flared roasters (which are, apparently, worlds better than those tacky non-flared roasters). But, as I should have reckoned, the whole thing was a ruse. Granted, there were nice kitchen gadgets and doo-dads to be had—doo-dads I didn’t even know we needed (like this gizmo that breaks your eggs for you; you know how difficult it is to break eggs manually). However, we have tons (maybe literally) of kitchen thingamabobs. Every available space in our kitchen is crammed with, well, kitchen stuff. And it’s not old stuff. My dear mother-in-law sees to that. We need more kitchen things about as badly as Lady GaGa needs an assertiveness training course.

No, we were at the mall to shop. Following our foray into the kitchenware world, during which I must point out we bought absolutely nothing, we moved on to what I could only surmise was my wife’s true agenda.

I hung in bravely through the first few jewelry counters and lingerie departments, but when we veered off to the cosmetics facial stations, I began to falter. Some of these things are way beyond me. Here are these specialists in white lab coats, guiding customers to their preordained colors as manifested in the master color organizer.

“Turn in your Books to Revlon, Chapter 4, Verse 3. ‘And Max Factor spake, saying verily. . .’”

Come on. Can some cosmetic slide rule and spinwheel really tell me that my face is New York Autumn and my hair is Moondance Springtime?

“Yes, according to the chart, you have a No. 6(c) nose structure flanked by hints of Indian Summer in your cheeks. You simply must wear the BonBon Beige Toner over a Chocolate Chartreuse Base.”

I suddenly had a craving for a Hershey bar.

When my wife nodded in enthusiastic agreement with this, I had to go sit down. That’s when the mall got fun. Not that I don’t have fun shopping with my wife, but there’s a time limit. Men can say “looks great, Hon” for only so long before the systems shut down.

So I sat in the middle of the mall and people-watched. From the cross-section of humanity I observed, I concluded that, just as every face can be categorized and indexed, so, too, can people.

For instance, you have your Ken and Barbie subset. These folks are always hand in hand, smiling like their landlord just died. They’re way too pretty to be shopping, and one can only figure that they’re just strolling around to show off. I noted that these people all have perfect teeth and no sweat glands.

Enginerds walk by occasionally, usually alone, hunched over, and in some sort of panicked hurry. Enginerds are the computer people. They stop in at the Apple Store to talk multisync Wi-Fi aperture dock magnification and cross-platform drive download capacity. Enginerds have no skin tone whatsoever; in fact, most wear an SPF 50 sunblock to get the mail. A favorite Enginerd outdoor activity is magnetic chess near an open window.

And, of course, you have your omnipresent Mall Shar Peis. They used to be called mall rats, but their clothes are so incredibly baggy now they can only be termed Mall Shar Peis (you know, those Chinese dogs that look like they’re shrinking into endless wrinkles of fur). It’s amazing. Long ago and far away, one was roundly ridiculed by teen peers if one’s underwear was showing. Nowadays, if you’re not revealing the greater portion of your BVDs, you are not with it. You’re like, so random or something. I conclude that this is some kind of sick plot concocted no doubt by the Kleins and Hilfigers to make sure the kids buy the correct—and most expensive—foundation garments.

I was about to classify another species when the wife appeared, all Chocolate Based and BonBon Toned.

“Looks great, Hon. There a candy store around here?”

[Published in the Oak Hill Gazette, December 8, 2010]


14 Responses to “Take Me Out to the Mall Game”

  1. Donnie Tucker January 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Hey Roger,

    I loved the read and must admit you captured the guy perspective of a typical shopping outing. I don’t know if you remember the FM station here in the 70’s Q102? They had fun with a charater named “Hunt James” who was the mans man. Your trek sparked memories of his rants with the exception that you were much more descriptive and sarcastic. Enjoyed and look forward to another one!
    (PS) Fiero’s had a electrical wiring problem so many of them caught on fire under the hood and put out of commission. I would stick with the Corvette’s, Corvair’s or The VW “Thing”!

    • oldspouse January 5, 2011 at 3:11 am #

      Thanks, Donnie.
      Great to hear from you. (just kidding about the Fiero. was that an awful car or what?)

  2. Ray Hildebrand..The Hey Paula Boy January 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I will say this, Old Spouse, you are every bit the goof ball that Dave Berry professes to be. Keep it up. Kansas City is a long way from you but you made me laugh and at 70…that’s pretty big!

    • oldspouse January 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

      Wow, thanks, Ray, that means a lot coming from you. In case people reading this don’t know, Ray H. was the guy who sang “Hey, Paula”! …think Animal House. Best to you, Mr. H.!

  3. Catherine C January 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi Roger,
    I just found your blog. I live in NW Austin, and news takes a while to reach me. I marvel that your wife brought you shopping for makeup. Did you catch the prices of any of the toner, blush, lipstick, and so forth? Apparently not, or the tone and content of your entry would have been different. Do not venture out on our own to price makeup at HEB—-those are not real make-up prices. Look at the receipt from the make-up counter only on a payday when you are feeling otherwise strong and well-grounded.

    I am signing up for notification of new posts. And looking forward to them.


    • oldspouse January 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      Thanks, Catherine. And advice well taken!

  4. Joann January 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    The voice of Chekov? The artfulness of Joyce? Nah, this is the fun stuff. Thanks for finding the humor in our everyday lives. Keep it up, Rodger!

    • oldspouse January 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks, Joann! As mundane as life can sometimes seem, there has to be some fun in there somewhere.

  5. Scott Milder January 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    This is why I don’t go to the mall. I find shopping online much more efficient and good for my marriage! Hope you are doing well. — Scott

    • oldspouse January 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      Indeed, Scott. Online is the way!

  6. John Dycus January 6, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    “Take Me Out to the Mall Game” is one snappy headline, befitting a story with lines like “the den bone’s connected to the hall bone” and “you have a No. 6(c) nose structure flanked by hints of Indian Summer in your cheeks.” We can all relate to this Roger White guy … except he’s funnier.

    • oldspouse January 6, 2011 at 9:56 am #

      John D., one of the great potentates of all things word. Thanks.

  7. Riney Jordan January 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Oh, my goodness! Finally…FINALLY…a writer who can pen a column that is actually worth the time it takes to read it … and then re-read it because it’s so darn good. You’re the man, Roger White!!

    And, FYI… I was the DJ in Brownwood, TX who first played “Hey, Paula,” by Jill & Ray (aka Paul & Paula). Small world, isn’t it?

    • oldspouse January 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      too kind, Riney. That’s right, you were the DJ who discovered the “Hey, Paula” duo! Now if we can get Jill on here, we’ll have everyone!

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