TOWSON Town Center was a jolly place on a recent Friday...

salmagundi

September 22, 1992

TOWSON Town Center was a jolly place on a recent Friday night. The mall teemed with smiling folk of all ages. Many simply strolled through the wide central walkways. Some even paused in the shops to make purchases.

The mall's Disney Store likewise buzzed with activity. Small children, their parents close behind, affectionately pawed the stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh and Donald Duck dolls, or stared at the large screen on which musical clips from Disney films played. Just about everyone was in a zippity-do-dah kind of mood.

All except for one boy who looked to be about 10 years old. He had found in the middle of the store a large stuffed Mickey Mouse doll and, for whatever reason, was delivering one sharp fist-blow after another to Mickey's mid-section.

The Disney tunes played on. Children and parents continued milling happily through the store. And the boy kept pummeling, pummeling, pummeling this foam-filled representation of the planet's most famous, most beloved rodent.

What could have brought on such a barrage of haymakers? The boy appeared as well-scrubbed and well-fed as any other product of Suburbia U.S.A.

Was it some deep-seated resentment of Disneyana, of dolls in general, of mice? Was it something the boy ate, possibly just minutes ago at one of the mall's own food stands? Was it hormones?

The junior Jake LaMotta kept at it for a minute or so and seemed on the verge of working up a real sweat, until a 30ish woman with a little girl in tow approached him. Nodding at the Mickey doll, the woman asked the boy, "Did he do anything to you?"

The boy stopped. He looked up as if snapped out of a trance by a loud bell. Blushing, he smiled and said, "No." His answer had a touch of shame suggesting he knew that wasn't how good little suburban boys should behave.

Then he sidestepped the woman and rushed out of the store, disappearing into the throng on the mall walkway.

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