When I witnessed a particular, let’s just say, saucy exchange between one of the most riveting battles in history, I figured it would be worth sharing.
A tale that extends back before pizza crust was invented, before pepperonis or tomato sauce ever existed. Probably before tomatoes themselves were grown and whoever was the first brave soul to risk a bite, there were feuds between the hipsters and the nerds. Two people, though similar in pretty much just their typical things that make a typical person typical, somehow managed to be individuals, just like the rest of us. But, a hipster and a nerd took their differences further than they had gone before over pizza toppings.
I stood there, two men I had barely known, and let’s be honest, didn’t really care to get to know at all. I mean, neither one is necessarily my cup of tea or slice of pie as they say in the southern parts of our world. But I was enthralled at their conversation about pizza and its toppings.
One stood in flannel, his jeans a little tight, his sneakers the newest trend. He had a chain that connected from the back pocket to the front, and though I understand the style, I always found it entirely unnecessary myself. But he had the most yellow of glasses I had ever seen, and a mustache perfectly trimmed. Boone, I believe he said his name was, just before showing off some sort of flashy watch he purchased on the streets of upscale Milan.
And the other was simply dressed, I hadn’t even noticed him until the brawl between pizza toppings started. But after a very defiant Boone challenged a stubborn scrawny guy dressed in a buttoned-up shirt to his chin, I had a hard time not noticing this guy. He stood slouched over like just the lights alone overhead were too much for him to handle, and the weight of the world was on his shoulders, or I suppose just the weight of proper pizza toppings. In between adjusting his too-high jeans, I believe he said his name was Kent. But it wasn’t long before the toppings became a life-threatening issue. So serious that Boone or Kent could lose their reputation for being a hipster or a nerd. As I said, entirely life-threatening.
When the cardboard lid opened on the pizza closest to the left, I saw the shine of Kent’s cheap make-shift glasses glow with excitement from his eyes. I thought to myself, well dang, that must be some pizza. So I approached, to find nothing special. It was plainly round, just a little bigger than a frisbee. The crust was just crust. It resembled a piece of cardboard that got stuck to the bottom of my shoe as I was coming here. The sauce was just sauce. Your average tomato paste spread along the edges of a crust that someone had forgotten to butter. And then, cheese. Just cheese that looked like someone had melted onto the top of the sauce, and with one bite, it would all come sliding off like wedding rings after three years of marriage. Scarcely there were pepperoni and olives on the cheese that looked like they had been eaten, swirled around in someone’s mouth, but not chewed. Then, like a spit-take on a bad comedy show, they were spread across the pizza.
And that was when I heard Boone make a noise that resembled what a Golden Retriever sounds like when a ball is thrown. Looking at his pizza, I wasn’t entirely sure what his pizza was, or if it could even be considered a pizza. He started listing off items, saying he had asked for pesto, first and foremost. From there he started listing Italian meats, prosciutto, soppressata, pancetta, all grass-fed, home-grown, culturally approved, non-discriminate, gluten-free, cage-free, and embedded with vitamins and oils to help with metabolism and improve your skin.
He grinned and with a hand placed on his chest started talking about the cheese like it was some sort of elaborate chess game. Cheese from the highest of the Swedish mountains from the prized goats, cheese blended and curated from specific set times. How it was kept at a pristine temperature that was controlled around the clock. The sauce was a sour-cream, blended with an alfredo, with marinated tomatoes sprinkled with organic pepper. And to make sure the pizza was safe from any other possible added artificial flavors, there were crushed red peppers. These peppers were hand crushed, not machine operated by environmentalist gurus, and then sprinkled along to the top.
I watched the nerd Kent, and the hipster Boone began to argue about GMOs and sauce from a can. And by the time the yelling and the highly insensitive remarks had all run dry, they looked down to see both pizzas were already gone.
What can I say? Whether GMO pepperoni or guru-made Italian pork, I like pizza.