Once upon a time during college I was…

Once upon a time, during college, I was given an assignment. I didn’t like the teacher, and it didn’t help that we were like oil and water – we just didn’t click. The assignement was to paint a famous figure. Everyone else in the class was choosing athletes and politicians and actors, but not me – I had to be different. It was supposed to be someone significant, and someone well known. I don’t recall exactly why, but I managed to choose someone that was all of the qualities: Mr. Potato Head.
Granted, this didn’t go over to well with the instructor at first. When the other folks in my class heard about my decision, however, they all tried to bully him to accept my choice, and quite a few expressed regret at not thinking of him themselves.
So, now I had managed to get permission to use him – the teacher had to approve the choice, of course – but now I had to get my hands on some subject matter. I surfed the web for some decent photos, but there wasn’t much there – small images, or just stupid poses….
So a class-mate and I decided to do a little road-trip. Amanda was a partner in crime in several of my classes, and we had lived in the same building during a previous year. She was also a resident in the building I was a “resident advisor” in during that same semester, so it made it easy for us to get together and help each other with assignments, and just generally hang out. She also had a car, which made getting around a bit easier….
Anyway, we hoped in the car and drove to a mall – interestingly, one that I now live about 10 minutes away from. We went inside with the intention of buying a Mr. Potato Head doll/figure/whatever. Amanda was also in some photo classes, so she always had her camera with her to snap interesting shots. This proved to be our downfall….
There were quite a few families there, and Amanda needed to get some shots of kids with parents or something. We’re walking along, talking, occasionally stopping so she could take a photo or ask for permission of the parents to take a photo – no big deal, right?
Wrong! We were using the escalator to go downstairs when one of the security guards walked on behind us. Amanda was lost in thought, so I happened to be listening to him when he said something about being “Behind the suspects” and “confirming the camera” into his radio. I got a little nervous, and tried to get Amanda to come back to planet Earth when we got to the bottom and….
The guard asked us what we were doing. Amanda politely explained the situation, and we were then asked to leave. It seems that the mall, in it’s infinite wisdom, is super paranoid about people coming in and “copying” their ideas. So, the fact that we were there with a camera was a Bad Thing(tm), and they wanted us gone. The guard didn’t say anything about coming back, but it was pretty clear we could only do that without a camera. At this point, we had been to all of the shops that offered toys, and were basically Potato Head-less, so we bailed. Laughing the whole way out, of course.
I ended up getting a subject at a local toy shop, and painted one heck of a portrait.

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