Today Your Love, Tomorrow a Thesaurus!

Today’s wandering experience was a shock for your humble narrator.  Now I had already visited the DeSoto Square Mall around four years ago.  At the time I thought it was on its last legs.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see it had gone out of business.  All I could recall about it was just how dilapidated it was.  Perfectly fitting for a DeSoto county shopping experience.

Upon entering I started to doubt my own memories.

Started to doubt because the mall now had an arcade!  A bona-fide arcade!  Only in the time-warp that is DeSoto will you find one of these artifacts.  If you want to see how video games were played before the Playstation and Dreamcast leveled the playing field and made arcades redundant; visit this anachronism!

It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when this game was the pinnacle of technological innovation as far as video games were concerned.  This arcade also housed a beautifully antiquated pinball machine.  One made before the digital revolution.  It’s scoreboard and flippers relying on ancient electromechanical relays and scoring reels.  Tons of relays and reels that were apparently not studiously checked since it took my money, and refused to work.

After this stroll down memory lane, I honestly thought I had the wrong mall.  Perhaps I had transposed DeSoto Square’s memory with that of another horrid place, the Tri-State Mall, up north on I-95.  That mall really is scary.  It’s the type of mall where, if for some reason you want to visit it, you’ll give your wallet or purse to a friend before you enter.  The hand-off taking place somewhere safer, like Wilmington.  You’d then have that friend continue driving up the interstate, past the Tri-State Mall.  Reuniting in another safe spot, such as South Philly.  

(Other Northerners (Hello Craig!) with an extensive knowledge of the PA/DE/NJ area will be excited to know that the DeSoto Square Mall’s main drag is reminiscent of the drag in the Dover Mall.  Except where Dover had actual business going on, here we find an unobstructed view of all the wares that nobody is buying.

The food court brought back Concord Mall memories.  Mainly because I’ve been missing the Concord Mall’s tax free ice cream lately.  ‘Cuz the physical lay-outs of the two food courts aren’t even remotely similar. What can I say?  I’m a mall rat with a heart that’s just a little too big.)

Any lingering doubts about my true location were quickly laid to rest as I passed down the next corridor.  Here I found the DeSoto Square Mall’s sad, slowly beating heart:

All I ever remembered about this mall, the only indenture made into the silly putty I call a mind, was the “Dollar Movies” theater.  While the pricing scale is now a sliding scale; after 6:30 the price jumps(!) to an outrageous $1.75!  This theater proved I hadn’t imagined the whole past adventure on some backwards Wizard of Oz shit. This was the shitty mall in my mind.

I did not, however, remember Luckys sitting opposite Dollar Movies.  Luckys is the mall’s fine dining restaurant/BINGO hall/geriatric ward.  Luckys draws DeSoto’s decrepit and aged moths to its blinding and burning (small town) casino lights.  

(Casinos playing a large supporting role in this mall.  Even Fun-N-Games had a special “Vegas” room; where one could win more tickets by paying five times the normal game prices.  One hopes the arcade attendant plays up the Vegas angle by at least donning a dealer vest when you pass through the door.)

I had a shot of the BINGO hall sign, but unfortunately the photo also caught an elderly woman on her way to blowing her family’s inheritance. And if looks could kill, I would be dead already, and you would die after viewing the posthumous shot was extracted from the remains of my destroyed camera. That’s how angry she looked. So I quickly deleted it in an attempt to ward off any lingering hoodoo.

A vestige of the mall’s storied past was this sign.  Do they not have (good) acronyms in DeSoto?  Are they [the acronyms] too advanced for this backward town?  

JDLR?  That’s actually harder to remember then the “Just Doesn’t Look Right” message it’s supposedly simplifying!  When I read it, all I can think of is: Juvenile Delinquents Love Roller (coasters).  Which is true.  Give any of ’em a call, they’ll let you know…

Another mystery of the DeSoto Square Mall uncovered and documented.  Found in the food court (the one that doesn’t look like the one in the Concord Mall), this mystery plateau clearly captivated me.  What’s it for?  I can only think they wanted a special place for kids to dance around their parents eat.  Or pretend they’re playing on some McDonald Land type rides.  Though the dancing would serve as great practice for DeSoto county’s other (main) employer:

Yes, DeSoto county’s main source of erotica is located directly across from the mall.  All you prudish parents can stop worrying though, ‘cuz the Sheriff’s department helps to form a (un)holy trinity of crappy livelihoods.  

Now you can’t see it here, but the mall’s revitalization scheme is failing.  I made some great finds though; scoring some superb steals due to the tanking (national and/or local) economy.  Books and pants at 75% off the already clearanced price!  Things stay like this and I’ll be able to return in a couple years and see the mall as I (wrongly) remembered it.

Hell, down the road at the awesome Big Red Barn Flea Market, I scored a dictionary for two dollars!  I once had a professor tell me that a giant dictionary was essential for making it through college.  Needless to say, seven years after graduating, I’ve finally conceded some of my (natural) obstinacy.

See?  I’m using it already!  These blogs can only get better!

In memoriam for my Bank of Tampa pen.  It spilled its last drop of ink writing this blog.  It possessed the smoothest ball point of any pen I’ve ever stolen.  True, its ink was blue.   I won’t let even a large, unseemly detail such as that mar its memory.  It fit oh so snugly in my mouth during my frequent bouts of writer’s block.

Also two notebooks ago! Oh my, how time flies...

As one can see above, the pen made its debut during the Rockin’ Roller Circus blog. Better known to you and me as 2nd Round: Less Barnum, More Monty Hall!  [A blog which is still, as of yet, relegated to the old domain.] Obviously the pen has had a great run.

A finer writing instrument will be hard to find, and even harder to purloin!

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