The Mall, dude.

That’s where we went to be cool. Matt Pierce and I went to the mall. We didn’t go there sometimes, we went there all the time. If it was Friday night, that is what we did. I just assumed it was what everybody in the world did. It was where you went to exercise your freedom to attempt to be cool.

It was the same situation, week after week. Friday night arrived, Mrs. Pierce would drop us off between 6:30-7pm and pick us back up at 9pm. We had a little over two hours to roam the floors, wear our hats backward, sport our jeans in tight-rolls,  mean-mug the other dudes our age, and discuss which girls we were gonna go talk to….and then not, cause neither one of us had the balls to actually talk to a girl.

The mall was the closest thing you could get to heaven as a fifth-grade boy (the only thing closer to heaven would be the bangs of some of the girls walking around the mall.) These were the girls that we hid from if they looked towards us but we planned our futures with them after they safely left our field-of-view. These were the same goddesses who single-handedly put a hole in our ozone layer from all of the aerosol spewed from their hair-spray cans.

The girls were doing their best to be cool as well. One of the ways that they made sure to be cool was to make sure that they stayed far away from Pierce and me. Fifth-grade girls didn’t have time for us, they were busy with the guys like Michael Shelton. Shelton had a rat-tail and a nasty-ass mustache. Mall bangs and mustaches go together like peas and corn. Pierce and I didn’t have a chance but we still practiced every single week.

So what? Maybe we weren’t cool. But, we had a place to be cool. To practice cool. To attempt to display a degree of cool. And that is cool.

Neil Young, in his song “Rockin in the Free World”, lumps not having the opportunity to “be cool” right up there with not having a chance to get an education or to even fall in love.

I guess I’m just curious, how do kids practice being cool, today? If they don’t hang out at malls, play 10-yard fight and RBI Baseball on Nintendo, or have cassette tapes of Raising Hell, License to Ill, or Hysteria, where and how might a young man practice being cool?

If there is anything wrong with the world today, it is that there is no place to openly and innocently practice the art of being cool. Personally, I never figured out how to do it but I sure loved trying.

Be cool.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,