'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MALL MUTANTS AND OTHER TRAVEL TALES
Being on the road a lot for my job, I know pretty much where all the important oasises in Connecticut are located. No matter where I am in the state, if my car is low on gas or if I am low on glazed crullers, I know exactly where to find the nearest Mobil station or Dunkiní Donuts.
I also know exactly where all the malls are located. This is not because I enjoy shopping, but rather because Iíve learned that malls have fairly clean restrooms. I used to stop at fast food restaurants if I needed to use the restroom, but it seems that in some of these places (to be fair, not all) they clean the restrooms about as often as John Kerry smiles. I donít know about you, but I donít feel very comfortable when I walk into a menís room and canít tell what color the porcelain is because itís covered in a quarter-inch layer of moss and mold. Besides, itís very difficult to use the facilities while wearing one of those full-body, Department of Environmental Protection Haz-Mat suits.
Whenever I stop at a mall, I accomplish two objectives. First, I answer the call of nature. (Yeah, I know ďanswer the call of natureĒ is a corny expression. But my editor didnít appreciate my original description, explaining, ďThis is a family newspaper, Bill. We donít need obscene George Carlin routines about bodily functions. Besides, George Carlin routines are funny.Ē)
My second accomplishment while visiting a mall is the fact I get some exercise. This is because itís a federal law that no two malls in the country can be constructed in the exact same configuration, which means all the stores and all the restrooms are located in different spots from mall to mall. OK, maybe itís not a law, but there must be some kind of solemn pledge all mall owners take, promising to lay out their buildings in such a way that even experienced shoppers (or in my case, salesmen) have to wander around quite a bit to find what they are looking for.
All this walking gives me a fairly good workout. And on those occasions when the nearest parking space is half-a-mile away from the mall entrance, I get a fantastic cardiovascular workoutónot so much because of the long distance, but because by the time I reach the menís room, Iím practically sprinting, fearful that my bladder is about to burst.
Anyway, visiting malls has made me realize that a new semi-human species must have evolved in recent years. The technical name for humanity is Homo sapiens. My guess is scientists have named this new species Victorius Secretiens. Most of the stores in malls, especially clothing stores, now display in their windows larger-than-life photos of this mutant breed. (At least I hope the photos are not actual-sized. Otherwise, these freak chicks are twelve feet tall!)
The distinguishing features of these bizarre creatures include large eyes, large lips, large boobs, and abdomens no bigger than my forearm. When I look at the shoppers in the mall, the normal humans, I also see a lot of largeóbut in different places.
The strangest sights in the mall, however, are the many normal humans who are wearing the exact same clothing worn by the semi-human creatures in the oversized photos. A skimpy, midriff-baring outfit looks odd enough on a body that is twelve feet tall, 105 pounds, with measurements of 48-18-34. But when that same skimpy outfit adorns a normal human body that is five-foot-two-inches tall, 165 pounds, with measurements of 34-38-42, itís a little scary.
The only thing I can figure is this new semi-human species possesses some kind of sinister mind control power, which causes normal humans to lose sight of what they really look like. Thankfully I still know exactly what I look like, and weíd all be a lot better off if everyone wore what I wear while out in public: a full-body, D.E.P. Haz-Mat suit.
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