I tell ya, mall culture never ceases to amaze me, even as much as I absolutely abhor it. And even though I personally try to avoid any of our five dozen local malls unless I absolutely, positively need an electric cheese grater or a vintage pair of pants three sizes too small for me even in my glory days right this very second, I’ve got to admit that in small, controlled doses, the mall can be a wonderful place for both people- and corporation-watching entertainment!

Why just now as I wrote that sentence while sitting in the “food court” of a mall that shall-not-be-named did I bear witness to a fashion faux pas that we’d normally reserve for the likes of Johnny Depp or Keith Richards – a teenage girl walked by my table wearing a top hat, pajama bottoms, and a pair of combat boots. Now before you get too alarmed, yes – she was wearing some sort of top, too – but honestly, between the pink pajamas and the top hat, I really just sort of glazed over anything that appeared to be even remotely normal, although for the record it’s getting more and more difficult to even identify what that is anymore! Funny, I remember back in my school days the craziest things people ever wore were tie-dyed shirts from two decades prior and sandals, despite the fact that Northern Michigan in the wintertime is very, very cold! Not once did I hop out of bed thinking, “Yeah – today I don’t feel like bothering with regular pants. These pajama bottoms have served be well over the past eight hours, so why fix something that isn’t broken?!”

Of course, the real driving force behind this week’s mall-based humor column isn’t all of the catchy fashion ideas a hip guy like me can reap from a single trip to the mall, but instead I was thinking more along the lines of all the chicken a hip guy like me can reap from a single trip to the mall! You see, of all the people who really like chicken a whole lot, I’m certainly one of them and we all know that aside from that upscale delicatessen at 56th and Herb Street, the best place to get yourself copious amounts of chicken for roughly the same as it would cost you to mail your monthly bills if you didn’t pay them all online instead, thus forcing the United States Postal Service to once again raise the price of stamps to stay in the black, it’s hands down, without a doubt the mall. You’ve got your fried chicken, you’ve got your teriyaki chicken, you’ve got your bourbon chicken that mysteriously looks an awful lot like teriyaki chicken…

You’ve got chicken wings and chicken fries, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, and chicken “chunks” for that late-comer into a chicken-selling industry that has already used up pretty much every appetizing word that could be used to describe a partial serving of chicken. If you’re thirsty, you could have yourself a cup, bowl, or limited edition, collectible chicken-head filled with cream of broccoli, no wait – make that chicken soup. Or maybe you’ve had a long, exhausting day of walking around the mall, looking cool in your pajamas and could use some refreshment – for that, there’s really nothing than a delicious ice cream treat from Cold Stone Creamery, The Ultimate Ice Cream Experience.

What? Did you think I was going to make some sort of reference to chicken-flavored ice cream?! If Ben & Jerry’s haven’t concocted it by now, there’s probably a very good reason for it…

(It would be gross.)

Anyways, I’ve gawked at the top hat / pajamas girl, I’ve went on a solid two-paragraph tear about chicken, and I’ve even managed to fit in a couple of ice cream-related plugs in hope that the powers that be will step up kick a little Chunky Monkey (or the Cold Stone equivalent) my way! Not bad for an afternoon spent at the mall, although I’m pretty sure I did come here for a specific reason and I’m nearly positive that it wasn’t to speculate about chicken fries.

Or was it???

No, no – it wasn’t. I knew there was a reason I made myself lists before I came to places like this. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call someone to figure out what I’m supposing to be doing … Ooh, they have chicken here!