Slice of life
Passing years brings less ‘pass the pizza’
Since the beginning of time, Man has worked to develop various ways to measure, well … time. There is a school of thought that Stonehenge is actually a giant calendar. (Those odd scratches on that column on the right? That’s someone trying to remember his anniversary. And the blood stain next to it? Yeah, well, guess who forgot anyway.)
Now, we have all sorts of devices on all manner of things, from our televisions to our cars to our refrigerators to, well, actual calendars that help us measure the passing of time.
Me? I measure it in pizza slices.
OK, so, not exactly. I mean, you don’t have to take away a slice every fourth year, and if the number of pepperonis varies from slice to slice, it’s because someone in the back didn’t do a very good job of topping distribution, not that the Romans were kind of big-picture folks and not into the nitty gritty of celestial math.
For me, the passage of time is marked, symbolically if not accurately, by the inversely proportional number of slices of pizza I can eat. In short, if life is a circle, mine is a pie.
Or, maybe a bell curve. When I was young (like, really young. Pre-cellphone young) I couldn’t eat a lot of pizza because, well, I couldn’t eat a lot of anything. I could order it. I could promise my parents I would eat it. But, I couldn’t. I could however, leave it in a “to-go” box under an auto seat. But that’s another story and involves the phrase “plummeting resale value.”
Then, about the time puberty and my feeble pass at athletics collided, the curve definitely started an upward arch. Unfortunately for my parents, my older brother’s curve was on a similar trajectory. Which means we would arrive home from our separate school days/practices and each consume a frozen pizza. And then eat dinner.
Just a word here for parents heading into similar time frames with their children: You’ll want to stress that frozen pizzas are not like frozen yogurt. It’s really, really, REALLY better if you cook them before you eat them. And if you take them out of the box first.
I believe I reached Max Pizza during my early 20s, when it satisfied the three basic collegiate requirements for food. It was cheap, it could be obtained without effort (OK, a phone call, but …) and it demanded virtually no level of dexterity to eat (I say “dexterity,” you say “sobriety,” tomato sauce, tomaaahto sauce).
In fact, pizza doesn’t even require you to use your hands. Probably better if you do, but, it is important to remember that hot cheese burns will heal.
Since those golden pizza-eating days, it’s been steadily downhill. Or down bell. Definitely down, in some way that’s not “down the hatch,” since I have gradually lost the ability to consume Italy’s most important contribution to America (overlooking, of course, that “America” is named for Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian) as the miles pile up on my odometer.
I’ve also lost the ability to eat Slim Jim’s and Dr Pepper for breakfast. Provided you’d like to call that a skill. If you’re pulling from my particular quiver, you’ll take any arrow you can come up with.
Someone who used to wonder if there was a size larger than “Super Duper Back the Truck Up, with Double Cheese,” now finds his actual limit is about three smallish slices. First thing to go is your knees. Then the pizza.
Initially, it was a matter of “could, but shouldn’t,” as in, “I could eat more, but no one, not my immediate family, anyone sitting near me, my doctor or myself at about 2 p.m. is going to be in favor of that.”
Then, quickly enough, it was just a flat “no.” Like a prize fighter who can’t get up off the mat, I was down for the count. At “three,” instead of “10,” but you get the metaphor.
Apparently I’m not the only one with agebased pizza issues. The Lovely Mrs. Smith and I ran into two of our married friends at a local restaurant and the husband shared that he could no longer eat pepperoni. And yet, life goes on.
Hopefully, I’m not going to look back on my pizza-limited status as the good old days while I “enjoy” my Metamucil and gruel diet. But if that’s where we’re heading, well, I’ve known some great mozzarella in my day. And all good things have to come to an end. Even the round ones.
Now if I get to where I can’t eat peanut butter, we’ve got a problem. …