For the uninitiated, pizza is the food of the gods.
It has driven men of faith to move mountains, inspired lovers into new heights of passion, and stirred the hearts of poets.
Better yet, it's good for you! As Homer wrote in his epic poem The Ilead:
Pizza contains all five food groups.
My own thoughts were crystallised in a throwaway comment I made on Facebook recently:
Forgive me father, for I have repeatedly and wantonly feasted on Italian peasant food. With extra jalapeños.
Suddenly, it's 1999, and I'm in the company of a young and erudite iDifficult at our local pizzeria. We're fine looking young men; I'm 6'5" tall and a former varsity athlete, while 'Difficult is comfortably over 6' and has the body of a lean outdoorsman. Yes, really.
We're doing what we've always done best: talking nonsense. Work, technology, movies, gadgets, software, anything. At the time, we did the same job. Yes, it's true; I'm a lapsed programmer. And I was going places, until I was seduced by the allure of documentation: the glory, the women, the beautiful stacks of paper.
A typical bit of nonsense arises; my arch-genius companion brings up a point he'd read earlier. He tells me that the "noted futurist" Alvin Toffler once posited that:
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn
I ponder this, half a mind on the menu. But then, in a rare outbreak of eloquence on my part, I find inspiration:
Hmmm. I think the truly illiterate will be those who venerate success over excellence, coolness over education, and reality TV over just about anything.
My manifesto laid bare. My friend nods sagely and changes the subject.
Our waitress, Miranda, comes over and makes small talk with us. She knows us all too well; we're there as often as not. We order a couple of large meaty pizzas with extra jalapeño chilli peppers. She smiles and heads off to the kitchen.
Our beers and cheese-laden garlic bread arrive soon after, and we continue talking while we eat. It's good, too, just as we like it; plenty of cheese which is slightly brown and crisp. And just as we're on the verge of putting the world to rights, the pizzas arrive.
The conversation stops. A true hiatus nonsensica.
We are struck dumb, both of us. No mean feat on any day.
We have to assume there is meat on the pizzas; we can't see any through the chilli peppers. Each of them looks like a football pitch. Green shredded jalapeños, wall to wall. Miranda smiles and says:
I remember how much you boys like your chilli peppers, so I got the kitchen to add lots of them. I hope you enjoy it.
She takes our stunned faces and silence to indicate awed appreciation. And we do appreciate it; it's a kind thought. And damn, they do look interesting. We mumble a thank you, and off she trots, her good deed for the day done.
It's kind of exciting. And a bit scary, too. We've eaten curries hot enough to melt an icecap, but this is different. These look dangerous.
We approach the food with caution but growing bravado. This turns to enthusiasm as we begin. Man, it's hot, but tasty, and the burn is good. We get through half a gallon of Pepsi Max. Each.
And no morsel escapes us, no crust is left uneaten.
Delighted with our foolish gluttony, we pay the bill tip Miranda handsomely, and head our separate ways.
I hear the following day that my friend is poorly; he vanishes for several days. I am off work for a week. It is agony. But totally worth it.
Ah, the foolish excesses of Youth.
Back in the present, I can honestly say that my digestion has never been the same since. I'd love to say we learned something from it, but I'd be lying. As Marillion notes in their epic 100 Nights:
They say that people live and learn
Some people only live and live
I bless Miranda for her kindness, if not her wisdom, wherever she is.
It was good pizza while it lasted.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2012