Humor Non-Fiction posted February 21, 2016

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A brief rant from an old man

A pizza my mind

by Mark Valentine

As a Chicagoan, I was raised to respect the sanctity of traditional pizza. Pizza, the way God intended it to be, has a dough-based crust, a tomato-based sauce, is topped with mozzarella cheese, and, in some cases, additional toppings. Throughout history, civilization (by which I mean Chicagoans) has agreed that there were three acceptable toppings: sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms. I, myself, do not care for the last two of these, but,being a tolerant person who respects each individual’s right to top their pizza as they see fit, I would never think of imposing my views on someone else. As our late Mayor Daley famously said, “I may not agree with your choice of toppings, but I will defend to the death your right to eat them.”

That was then. Over the years, I have watched the sanctity of traditional pizza slowly erode as toppings such as onions, anchovies, and peppers were incorporated into the mix of offerings. I watched in horror as chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s hung up shingles in Chicago (imagine a Taco Bell in Mexico!). I’ve even seen that abomination that New Yorkers call pizza, being sold on our streets. There is video evidence showing Donald Trump actually eating this crap. That alone should disqualify him from being president.

But just when you think you’ve reached the innermost circle of hell, along comes California Pizza Ki... No, I can’t even bring myself to type their name – they are the culinary equivalent of Lord Voldemort. They sell barbeque chicken pizza, pineapple pizza, gluten-free margherita pizza. And here’s the worst part, no-one has yet gone to jail for this. They’re like AIG or Lehman Brothers. I’m sure when the world comes to its senses, and the forces of good prevail, they’ll all be like “Oh, we were just following recipes”. How I pray that I am on the jury for the Nuremberg pizza trials! For now though, they go scot-free.

 We have clearly reached the end of days – cats and dogs living together, atonal music, free verse poetry, spinach pizza.  

And it should come as no surprise that this started in California, the modern day equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their state motto is “Eureka” which, loosely translated, means “God is dead, let’s have sex.” California, a godless, lawless land, where all moral compasses are oriented to the pole of “if it feels good, do it.” I mean, if you can define pizza any way you want, why not just throw some goat meat on a slab of plywood and call it pizza – oh wait, California Pi… I mean the Establishment-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, has already done this – they call it “The Number 3, Hold the Bat’s Head”.

And God only knows what people are drinking with these so-called pizzas? Surely it’s some sort of ten-dollar, artisanal, craft beer made with boutique hops and fermented organic bison urine. I’m sure you can’t even get a bottle of Bud in a Califor…. you know the place I mean.

Look, these are crazy times. Our movies feature full frontal nudity, and our politics features full frontal lunacy, but for God’s sake – is nothing sacred? Can we not at least draw the line at pizza? God defined pizza as a union between a crust, tomato sauce, cheese, and the aforementioned toppings. Trust me on this, I have an MA in theology. Let me put it to you in terms a fifth grader could understand: When a man and a woman love each other very much, God gives them a special way to show that love - a way that involves making odd noises and feels amazing. Pizza is better than that! It is a sacrament!

Maybe, I’m the one who’s out of step. Maybe I’m just an old man clinging to an outdated notion that the pizza my parents made, the pizza that, accompanied by $5 dollar pitchers of beer, has fueled so many first dates over the generations, is the only pizza. Maybe I should get on Twitter, watch reality TV, worship Satan and embrace kale pizza like everyone else.
The world has passed me by my friends. I am Gary Cooper in “High Noon”, thinking that honor and dignity mean something, only to find out that the townspeople have a different set of values. I suppose it’s time to get into the carriage with Grace Kelly (if you’ve never seen the movie, you should definitely rent it), throw my badge on the ground, and ride off into the sunset. Before I do though, I’m going to Roseangela’s for a large sausage pizza and a pitcher of Budweiser.


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