A Different Kind of Hangover
Or, How Many Times can I fit the Word "Magenta" into one Column?

There are several conditions that result in not having a car at the University of Missouri. One of these conditions is Immobility. I have Immobility. I stay on campus and the general downtown area, and therefore obtain an adequate amount of boredom. Another one of these things is something that only happens when you find a ride to The Columbia Mall: Mall Drunkenness.

People that have cars do not get Mall Drunk because they can go to The Mall at any point in time. They can go and purchase items, hang out at Target and the Orange Julius without fear of the intoxicants that inhabit The Mall's capitalist fumes inebriating them. Why? Because they can go to The Mall whenever they want. They can go into Target and see a display of Capri Sun™ on sale and say "Hey, I'll get it the next time I come."

But not us.

Us non-car-havers are very prone to getting very, very Mall Drunk. Why only the non-car-havers, you ask? Because we always know that it might be the last time ever that we are at The Mall. Every purchase decision we make at the Mall is based upon the little voice in our heads that says, "When are you going to be back here again? You'd better get it now, while you're here, at The Mall." This is the worst symptom of Mall Drunkenness; lack of any control whatsoever over one's financial interests in the place of the desire to buy useless things. Some stores, like the Sharper Image, base their very existence upon people who get really Mall Drunk. A person who is prone to Mall Drunkenness is likely to have internal monologues like this in a store like the Sharper Image:

Mall-Drunk Side: Hey, look! That Nose-Hair-Trimmer-with-AM-Radio™ is on sale for only $49.99!
Rational Side: But you don't need a Nose Hair Trimmer.
Mall-Drunk Side: Yeah, but it's on sale! Only $49.99! Plus, I can listen to great AM radio whilst trimming those unsightly nose hairs!
Rational Side: It doesn't matter. You are nineteen years old. You don't need a nose hair trimmer. Your nose hair isn't long enough to be visible to the naked eye, let alone need a trim. Do not purchase that useless gadget.
Mall-Drunk Side: But it's on sale!

And so it goes.

I am one whose affliction of Mall Drunkenness tolerance is much lower than I would like it to be. Last night, I went to the Columbia Mall for the first time since my mom and I bought out the Useless Plastic Storage Section (Aisle 791-Q) at Wal-Mart on my first day here in Columbia. I was feeling the capitalist buzz as soon as I stepped inside of the mall where I proclaimed: "Let's go to Hot Topic! I need to dye my hair a ludicrous color!"

If you've never tried to dye your hair magenta with "Special Effects" hair color I will save you the suspense: Don't. I have been swimming in a sea of purplish-red since I colored my hair not 24 hours ago, and I am quickly learning the ill-effects of Mall Drunkenness Hangover.

A Mall Drunkenness Hangover is a lot like a regular hangover, except instead of waking up with a splitting headache, severe dehydration, and a tendency towards diarrhea, as soon as you leave The Mall you get the feeling that you have spent too much money on something that is completely useless.

The first hangoverism was when I realized that my towel was ruined. When applying the hair color, the instructions specifically told me to rinse all of the excess product out of my hair and to shampoo when I was done, which I did. Unfortunately, those instructions failed to mention what would happen if you attempted to towel dry your hair, which is make your towel look like an elephant was using it as a maxi-pad.

The next hangoverism is when I realized that I had dyed my hair magenta, and that it was going to stay in my hair for 3 to 6 weeks. Then I ordered Pokey Sticks.

Really, though, the worst part about this whole thing is the remaining evidence left in my medicine cabinet, and knowing what a waste of money it was. Three-quarters of a $13 bottle of magenta hair dye is sitting there, doing nothing. I will not throw it out. My Rational Side is punishing me for listening to my all-too-convincing Mall-Drunk Side. It is making me see that nearly full bottle every time I open my medicine cabinet, mocking me. I want to throw it out, but I can almost hear my Rational Side rubbing my face in this fiduciary error: "Oh, but you wanted to dye your hair red," it's saying. "You wanted to spend the $13 to do it. Looks like you only got about $3.25 worth there, slugger."
"I know, I know... I guess it just wasn't worth it. I guess I'll have to just throw the rest out."
"Oh, no you can't!" The voice replies. "You're going the full nine yards with this one. You want to spend thirteen dollars on magenta hair dye, your melon better keep looking like a damn raspberry. That's $9.75 down the drain. You wanted that hair dye, you keep all of it."
"I swear, I'll never go to The Mall again!"
"You say that now, but the next time someone offers you a ride, you know where you'll be. You'll fall off that wagon faster than Marrion Barry in a crack house."

At least with a regular hangover you can sleep it off. There is no hangover like the guilt factor in a Mall Drunkenness Hangover.

By the way, if you're thinking about buying it, the Nose-Hair-Trimmer-with-AM-Radio™ is truly a fantastic product. My nose hairs didn't need trimming at all. In fact, when I tried to trim them, I ended up cutting the insides of my nostrils a lot, which was bad. However, the upside is that I got to listen to creepy Fundamentalist Christian Radio during the process. What is it like? The next time you go to the bathroom, imagine trimming your nose hair, but with a fundamentalist reverend yelling up your nose about the Gospel. Now that's Mall Drunkeness regret. If you want a different kind of Mall Drunkenness Hangover, take a trip to Kansas City or St. Louis, and go to the Sharper Image. You'll find yourself Mall Drunk off your ass before you can say "Magenta Razor Scooter."

25 September 2000