I know this is bound to sound terrible, but my recollected affections for old girlfriends are surpassed by my feelings for great pizzas I once enjoyed.
It’s not that I’m ungrateful for girls who used to risk their reputations by being seen dating me. It’s just that I really love a good pizza.
Some studies say men like me think about sex something like a gazillion times a day.
I probably think about eating pizza just as much.
In fact, if I could detail the snowflakes of thoughts zooming around my mind right now, it’d probably go something like this:
“Sex. Sex. Sex. Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. Sex. Pizza. Sex. Pizza. Pirates. Sex. Pizza. Breaking Bad. Pizza. Sex. Sex. Pizza. Sex. Pizza.”
The history books are full of stories of masses of men and women who recklessly upended their entire lives in search of liberty, religious freedom or better opportunities.
I’ve upended mine in search of better pizzas.
It was Nashville in 1988.
First a little background.
I was blessed to have been raised in the pizza-rich land of Pittsburgh’s South Hills, a region that today is still abundant with great Mom & Pop pizza joints.
I have many fond memories of my years as a teenage Pittsburgh Press newspaper delivery boy down on Castle Shannon Blvd. Thursdays I’d deliver the afternoon paper and collect weekly payments until about 6 p.m.
Then with a pocket full of loot, I’d stop into the old Pub & Pizza, put 50-cents in the jukebox and settle in for a pizza whose distinct flavors I can still recall with perfect clarity.
Of course, there was great pizza in Athens, Ohio, in any college town, really. I used to love Angelo’s on Union Street. Big Red Tomato used to deliver a large pizza the size of a Roman charity wheel with two toppings and two big tubs of Coke for something like $6.95, and it was delicious. I still don’t know how they did it.
To this day, whenever I hear the story of Jesus’s miracle with the loaves and the fishes, my mind goes right back to Big Red Tomato.
At Ohio University, I was surprised to learn the world was unfair. Injustice and discrimination were rife.
I remember thinking, “That South African men and women are subjected to the cruelties of minority-ruled apartheid in 1985 is an affront to humanity. Oh, well, I’m sure Pretoria has at least a few decent pizza joints so I’m sure they’ll be okay.”
In a few short months I was to learn even metropolitan places like Nashville -- right here in America -- were pizza wastelands and I began to feel worse off than oppressed South Africans.
The South Africans at least had Nelson Mandela.
It would be about five years before Nashville even had Garth Brooks.
I stuck it out for three years before I got fed up, an admittedly odd choice of words for a man jonesing for good pizza.
Today, my life is rich with great pizza possibilities, none better than The Pond, right below my office.
I love taking one home for the family or splitting one with buddies downstairs while we’re watching the now playoff-bound Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s always good.
And I’ll forever be a pizza pilgrim. I’ll drive hours for a bite of great pizza at Bud Murphy’s in Connellsville, Campiti’s in Dormont, or the Pizza Pub in Clarion.
And there’s things I can do with great pizza my wife would never dream of letting me do with old girlfriends. For instance, you can’t keep old girlfriends in the frig overnight and eat them for breakfast the way you can pizza.
Sorry if that last remark came across as too cheesy, maybe a bit saucy. I guess I’m becoming crusty in my old age.
Saucy? Cheesy? Crusty?
Mmm . . .
What were we talking about again? I got distracted there.
Oh, yes, comparing great pizzas to old girlfriends.
I don’t feel too bad making the analogy.
I’m just being honest.
I’m sure there are many of my old girlfriends who think more charitable thoughts of chocolate cakes than they do of their dates with me.
Or maybe after reading this they’re all suddenly thinking of jerky.
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