June – Casual Shirts
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Malls didn’t always depress me. When I was in high school I worked in one, in a magazine shop, and I enjoyed it. It had an eclectic mix of regulars that made every hour interesting.
There was the mall security guard – an old southern gentleman who kept a coffee mug behind the counter. Every hour would come by and pop the mug into the microwave for 30 seconds and take a sip or two before moving on. Without even trying, he’d make a single cup of coffee last 8 hours.
There was the guy from the stockroom at Dillard’s – every day he called to reserve magazines and newspapers. Since I never understood a word he said on the phone, I would stash a random assortment of periodicals behind the counter with hope that I had what he wanted. Face to face I understood about 30% of his words and I remember him asking me, “Can’t you understand what I’m saying?” after I had failed to reserve the Sunday edition of the Washington Post. (Quite miraculously, I had managed to reserve everything else he asked for.) I played it cool and told him it was sold out. He then pointed at the stack of Sunday Washington Posts still for sale and asked, “You sold out of those?”
Lastly, there was a pizza shop two doors down swapped calzones for cigarettes. It was a pretty sweet deal.
But since then, being in a mall wears me down. I’m not sure why, but I can feel my energy level dropping every minute I’m inside one. Maybe it’s the air. Regardless, I always feel like I need to shop as quickly as possible or else I’ll permanently wither.
Not that long ago I needed to buy some shirts, and I must have lingered just a little too long. By the time I made it outside, I was so dark and moody that I couldn’t even talk. I felt like a dementor had sucked out my soul. And then, out of nowhere, out popped this song. At least the first verse and chorus did. After that, the rest was easy.
You may have noticed that the instrumentation for this month’s song is, shall we say, non-traditional. That was intentional. As many of you know, I’ve got a band, “The Star Makers”, and the people in it bring a lot of talent and skills to my songs and I intend to feature their abilities in my recordings. This one features my long time friend Brian Risk (who also does a mixture of data analysis and music). I recorded the vocals and gave him a rough outline of the chords, and he came back to me with this incredible arrangement.
Folks! It’s been a great month! If you like the song, please share it with your friends. And if you’d like to sing along with this tune, here’s the song sheet.