Mall Cop

“Back before I started pullin’ down four figures as a musician, I worked in a mall for about 12 years. It gave me an opportunity to make some observations about American life and the mall and how they’ve all kinda converged until America has become one really big mall, instead of America interrupted by malls. And so I wrote a song for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe when we’re in the mall: the security guards.”

-Introduction from a live performance on 12 Aug 2005

“Before I mowed lawns I was unemployed for a while. And before that, even, I worked in a shopping mall for eleven years, which goes a long ways toward explaining a lot of my psychological disfunctions. But you get to meet a lot of interesting people in malls. And probably my favorites were the keepers of the peace and upholders of the law: the security guards. You know, I used to call ’em four dollar an hour fascists but then, when I was outa work, I thought, you know, four dollars an hour aint too bad. What do you gotta do, you know? You chase little kids around and beat ’em about the feet with a billy club? I’d probably do that for free. But they didn’t accept me. I enlisted in the Mall Corp and they heard I had a high school degree. But then this lawn thing came up! But if they had accepted me in the Mall Corp, it probably went somethin’ like this. This is a little folk opera called ‘Mall Cop.'”

-Introduction from a live performance on 25 Jun 1987

 
I’m a mall cop workin’ the beat,
Out in front of the dollar store,
Wearin’ my mirror shades.
It’s a dangerous life,
It’s hard on your feet,
But I get a nightstick and I get paid
For dressin’ like a cop, and actin’ like a cop
From the Walgreen Drugs to the Cellphone Shoppe.
People out pursuin’ their happiness,
Lost in the wilderness of relative safety.

Dropped out of school back in ’73
Before I learned how to read
And then went into the army.
I got discharged on account of nosebleeds,
But the threat of unemployment
Could never alarm me.
‘Cause I knew there were malls, there’s crime in them malls –
Kids stealin’ green pennies from the pretty waterfalls.
People out pursuin’ their happiness,
Lost in the wilderness of relative safety.

You may hear me,
By the jingalingaling of my many-colored keys.
You may fear me,
With my Mall Cop swagger scopin’ young minorities.
But when you really need me,
I’m at the information station, shootin’ the breeze,
Shootin’ the breeze.
I’m shootin’ the breeze.

There was a pretty little thing,
Worked the information station,
Had a little crush on me.
She had a permanent perm,
‘Cause every dollar she earned
Went to the School of Cosmetology.
Well she fell for my form in a broken-hearted storm,
But I had to let her loose (I’m married to the uniform).
People out pursuin’ their happiness,
Lost in the wilderness of relative safety

I’m a Mall Cop and sometimes it’s rough –
No respect for the badge,
Next to no recognition.
I got a chip on my shoulder,
Don’t you give me no guff.
I’m on a holy “clean the malls up” mission.
‘Cause the Muzak’s nice, the food court’s nice,
Them Cinnabon girls are made of sugar and spice.
People out pursuin’ their happiness,
Lost in the wilderness of relative safety.

 

“Mall Cop” appears on Yarn: The Great Unravelling.


© and ℗ 2003 Marques Bovre


 

This is an earlier version, circa 1987:
 
I’m a mall cop and I work the beat,
From the card shop to the arcade.
It’s a dangerous life,
And it’s hard on your feet,
But I get a nightstick and I get paid
For dressin’ like a cop, and actin’ like a cop
From Walgreen Drugs to the Donut Shoppe.
People can pursue their lives
In relative safety.

I dropped out of high school
Before I learned how to read
And after that I joined the Army.
‘Til I got discharged on account of nosebleeds,
But bein’ out of work did not alarm me.
‘Cause I knew there were malls, and there’s crime in them malls –
Kids stealin’ green pennies from the waterfalls.
And my goal in life is to
Restore the great mall society.

Hey, yeah, you kids slow down.
We don’t like your kind here in North Towne.
Run like madmen down our halls.
Writin’ on our bathroom walls.
Better clear outa here before sundown.

Hey boy, where’d you get that boombox radio?
Radio Shack reports a stolen stereo.
Just show me your receipt
And you’re free to hit the street.
Hey don’t give me no lip,
I got your numero, Julio.
Julio.

I’m a Mall Cop, sometimes life is rough –
No respect, no recognition.
I got a chip on my shoulder,
Don’t give me no guff.
I’m on a holy “clean the malls up” mission.
‘Cause the Muzak’s nice, the mailman’s nice,
The Baskin Robbins girls are made of sugar and spice.
And I’m here to ensure that they can live their lives
In relative safety.

 

Appeared on The Bathroom Tapes demo, 1987.


© and ℗ 1987 Marques Bovre