39. Attempt a journey up the down escalator.

So you’re at the mall, gabbing away to your friend Sal. And you’re talking about miniature porcelain figurines of children doing adorable things, which is one of your favorite topics. “Did you see ‘Jimmy Breaks The Cookie Jar’?” you exclaim in joy. “I simply can’t wait to get my hot little hands on that priceless treasure!”

You drag Sal over to the mall directory, squealing in delight as you realize that the third floor contains a Hallmark Store. “Precious Moments music box!” you shriek, not feeling the need to put a verb in that sentence. You make a beeline for the escalator, giving nary a thought to people in your way, Sal’s wrist as you practically rip it off, or whatever direction you may be headed.

Which turns out to be quite the mistake, as you and Sal are now barreling towards none other than the down escalator from the floor above. You want to go up, but this particular device does nothing but bring an endless string of pedestrians down to your level, where a sale on discontinued Christmas-scented Yankee Candles is luring hordes of people who sadly possess no olfactory receptors.

But you notice none of this. Sal is screaming for you to stop, but you don’t listen, mostly because you’re still not quite sure whether Sal is a guy or a girl. You drop its wrist and continue prancing towards the mass of steel and rubber handrails, fully prepared to glide on up to your heavenly destination. But that’s not what happens. The moment you set your foot upon the grooved step, you know something is wrong. It’s not whisking you forward in a flurry of momentum and anticipatory-music-box-arm-flailing. It’s stopping you dead in your tracks, refusing to accept you, as if employing some sort of bouncer-like mechanism.

By now you’ve realized your mistake, but your equilibrium doesn’t catch on as quickly. You tilt and wobble and fall over yourself several times, attempting to catch your balance but failing each and every time you take a step – useless steps that only whisk your foot closer to the razor-sharp escalator teeth that your mother always scared you shitless about. They wait there, glowing green, chomping at the bit to devour your helpless feet in a bloody mess of carnage and shoe destruction. You finally dance away to safety, gasping for breath and trying desperately to ignore the shoppers laughing at you as they exit the escalators that only they know how to properly use. Sal’s laughing too. That bitch/dickwad.

So if you want to suck at life, attempt a journey up the down escalator. You may be participating in the mall equivalent of running head first into traffic, but at least the only thing you’ll end up with is a bruised ego. And a plethora of rubber burns.

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