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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Tis Better to Have Cheesed and Lost

(Hey, it’s scientificatious time.

That’s a real science term. In an alternate universe, probably. You don’t know.

Anyway, over at Secondhand SCIENCE this week, the words are about the agonist. It’s almost “agonizing”. But not quite. Probably.)

I think we need a rule. When a pizza joint is thinking of going out of business, it should have do a check first. I’m not sure what that would be. Maybe a poll on the menu, or flyers on local windshields. A Craigslist about-to-be-missed connection, perhaps.

We can sort out the details. The important thing is, a pizza joint considering shuttering their ovens should first check with its customers to ask:

“Are we your go-to pizza?”

Because if they are, for anybody out there, then I say the place can’t close. It’s just too traumatic finding another pizza you like. No one should have to endure that.

As you may have guessed, I’m going through that particular loss right now. And it’s heartbreaking. Or stomachbreaking. Organs of some kind are definitely breaking over here.

For years, I’ve been ordering the same pizza. We had a long-term, stable relationship. And while we weren’t completely exclusive — I dated outside the pizzeria occasionally, and she was right there on the menu for anyone to see — we knew we’d be there for each other. Week after week, year after year.

Until she wasn’t.

Six months ago, my one, my true, my cheesemate, went away — along with her whole menu. I went looking for dinner one Sunday and it was all gone, without so much as a “ya want breadsticks with that?

I learned later that the restaurant had shut down — but there was no warning. No last-minute vigil I could’ve joined. No desperate fundraiser, or grassroots petition to sign. Not even a pepperoni auction, so we could keep some small part of our favorite pies close to our heart.

Or, again, some other nearby organ.

“Gradually, I went through the five phases of favorite pizza loss.”

None of that happened. One week the place was there, delivering piping hot and delicious, and the next week it wasn’t. Just a hole in the internet where the menu used to be, and the nagging guilty questions. What could I have done to save them? Could I have eaten more? Should I have moved closer, to save them some gas? Were their margins on black olives too tight?

I could have lived without the olives! Why didn’t you tell me? Come back, pizzeria people!

Gradually, I went through the five phases of favorite pizza loss. Anger. Bargaining. Cheese withdrawal. Disastrous attempt to recreate pizza at home. And finally, acceptance. That pie was dead, may it rest in cheese. Ashes to ashes, and crust to crust.

Which means, I need a new favorite pizza. And that’s a whole other pain in the pepperonis.

Not that we lack for options around here. There must be thirty or more pizza pushers in the neighborhood, willing to deliver their versions of “pizza perfection” to my door. Thin crust to Chicago style, traditional to California, red-sauced, white-sauced, wood-grilled and hand-tossed. You name it, I can probably order it.

But none of them are quite the right fit.

I’ve searched high and low for another pizza match, with no luck. Oh, sure, early on I had a “rebound pizza” a couple of times. I told myself it was just as good, equally saucy and spicy in just the way I liked. But deep-dish down, I knew it was a lie. I just needed something to get me back on the pizza horse. We went our separate ways after a couple of weeks, no hard feelings. Or soggy crusts.

Since then, it’s been a parade of one-night pies. And I don’t want to bad-mouth anyone — I’m sure they’re all very nice pizzas. They’ll make some hungry couch potato very happy someday. But none of them were right for me. Whether too thin, or overly sweet, burnt or late or piled high with onions — lord, what is it with the onions; I’d like a few, not the entire Vidalia output from the past three months — nothing’s quite been a “keeper”.

I keep hoping. But I’m running out of places to try. If “the one” is out there, I fear its pimply delivery teens might not stretch to my neighborhood. I don’t know what I’ll do then. Drive to pizza? Nah. Move to a new pizza neighborhood? Probably not; I’ve been hurt before. Convert to bruschetta? Whoa, let’s not get crazy here.

I still don’t know why my beloved pizza had to leave me. Hence the rule that would make anyone’s “go-to” pizzeria stay in business. But I know that won’t really fix anything. That’s not how love works.

I guess if you truly love a pizza, you have to set it free. And if it never comes back to you… well, there’s always that Chinese place down the street that serves a mean kung pao chicken. Don’t judge me. A man’s gotta eat.

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