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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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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!

Forget the Napkin — Gimme a Tarp!

I was ravenous when I got home tonight. Blame a long week, blame a hard day at the office, blame global warming or the disappointing U.S. Olympic ski team or the flimsy excuse for a chicken burrito I had for lunch — whatever the cause, it added up to one starved Charlie around eight this evening.

So, I ordered a pizza.

Most nights, the logic used in getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘pepperoni and mushrooms’ wouldn’t fly. Delivery takes twenty minutes or more — far longer than whipping up a serviceable meal in the shadow of my own spice rack. There’s plenty of food in the house, and even snacks to take the edge off while I whip up some grub. So why bother shelling out cash for a pie? Two reasons:

  • 1. My wife was out at the movies, which meant I wasn’t getting anything good. I have the culinary skills of a mongoloid parakeet. If I can’t microwave it, or eat it frozen, I’m pretty much S.O.L.
  • B. I have a shelf-and-a-half full of beer in the fridge. ‘Beer plus cereal’ is not a Friday night. ‘Beer plus doughy TV dinner’ is not a Friday night. ‘Beer plus peanut butter on dry toast’ is definitely not a Friday noight. But ‘beer and pizza‘ — well, that’s as Friday night as it gets. Brewski up, bitches!

So — the pizza. By the time it got here, I was ready to eat the cardboard box it came in. I think I may have licked the delivery guy’s hand when he passed it over; it’s all a blur, and I can’t be held responsible for the actions of my tongue when I’m hungry!

(That’s the ‘insanity-by-starvation’ defense. You’d be amazed at how many parking tickets and restraining orders that’s gotten me out of.

“If the meal is late, you can’t incarcerate!” RIP , Johnnie Cochran!)

“The dude didn’t ‘eat a slice’ so much as he ‘performed pizzalingus’.”

At any rate, when I finally got my precious pizza pie inside the house, I tore into it like a cat into nip. Like Ted Kennedy into a Cape Codder. Like Kirstie Alley into a Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast. Like Kristy Swanson into Lloyd Eisler. You get the idea.

(Hey, so what if I had to look that last one up? I’m old, dammit. Pop references are hard!)

Back to the pizza.

By the time I was finished eating, it was a massacre. Half the pizza was gone, there was cheese all over the table, pizza crust on my forehead, and I’m pretty sure that’s tomato sauce on the ceiling. Still, even at my most shameless and famished, I’m not quite as bad as Sean, this kid I went to school with.

Sean was a regular guy, for most of the day. Smart kid, nice, good grooming — never a nose hair out of place. But come meal time, all bets were off. Sean wasn’t just sloppy — he was a ‘messy eater’ the same way that New Orleans ‘got a little rain’ a few months ago. You needed safety goggles and a hazmat suit to even sit at the guy’s table.

And his favorite meal was pizza. That’s all he ever wanted to eat, and lord help you if he got to it before you did. It wasn’t just the issue of sanitation, either — certainly, who knew where his hands had been! But just watching him scarf down pizza would put you off eating for days at a time.

Sean was as likely to have anchovies in his eyelashes as toppings down his gullet. He was a tempest — imagine the Tasmanian Devil, without the fork and knife, and with Domino’s on speed-dial. The dude didn’t ‘eat a slice’ so much as he ‘performed pizzalingus’.

Sean’s gustatory gyrations were an amazing, bewildering, above all disturbing sight to behold. Where many people brush their teeth after meals, my friend Sean usually needed a shower, or so it seemed. Truly, first-rate socially questionable behavior from an otherwise normal young adult.

I haven’t kept up with Sean over the years — but I picture him, even now, with those same eating habits. The same wild eyes and grabby hands, teeth and lips and fingers flying away in a mealtime maelstrom. I like to think he has a job now involving food — driving an ice cream truck, or taste-testing new recipes, maybe even a restaurant critic.

(Ooh, a critic would be the best! He’d leave the place being reviewed wearing his entree and half the contents of the dessert tray. He could moonlight as a reviewer for the dry cleaners he’d have to hire to get the stains out of his suits. Bonus!)

Honestly, I wonder whether the kid ever got married — now that would cure him of those food-related shenanigans. Hell, I can’t even slurp soup without a slap from the missus; imagine if I went glomming and marauding into my food like old Sean did? She’d have my ass on a platter!

At least, she would if she was around to see it. Or the aftermath. So for the love of Papa John, somebody help me get these pepperoni stains off the curtains — she’ll be home any minute!

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Forget the Napkin — Gimme a Tarp!”

  1. RRaccoon says:

    ‘performed pizzalingus’

    If I never get to work that into a conversation it will truly be a travesty. That phrase is awesome.

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