WORDS BY SELTZERBOY .::. Remember Ronald Reagan’s infuriatingly honest appraisal of the ten words he feared most? This morning, the ten most frightening syllables that this weblog knows fell from my lips: "Doc, Will I ever eat pizza again?"
Like a barber with carpal tunnel syndrome, a longshoreman with a ruptured disk, or a smoker with bronchitis, I have been a Slice scribe unable to eat pizza since Doc delivered a heartburn diagnosis earlier this month. With it came a bottle of pills and a few dietary restrictions. Considering how frightening the prior two weeks had been, I nodded my head encouragingly that day as I promised to steer clear of coffee, a menacing habit that had haunted me since the Iran-contra affair, as well as a host of other ingestibles.
It all seemed reasonable until I realized this would include the highly acidic tomato sauce that tops every pertinent pie. This was met with stern disapproval from the Slice czar, who has already struggled to fill the news hole left open by a recently Gotham-bound E-Rock, who usually files dispatches from Zaire or the Northwest Territories or wherever else his muse takes him. Still afflicted, I couldn’t even muster the strength to craft an obituary after my final outing, to Grimaldi’s on December 26. Though considering I will be without pizza for a while, at least I went out with something of lasting value. (I still wish the crew working this Brooklyn Heights coal oven could produce a well-cooked, evenly charred crust. That’s all that keeps Grimaldi’s from the top of the list.)
Sidelined from my vocation, I filed for short-term disability. Slice, it turns out, does not offer a very comprehensive health plan to its laborers. No workers’ compensation, either. Not even life insurance. Perhaps its newly appointed human resources director can help this fledgling enterprise attain benefits, which would avert a work stoppage by Local 1424 of the International Pizza Eaters Union (IPEU).
Seriously, who knew eating pizza could be such an occupational hazard? Sure, we loyal Slice sleuths consume an abnormal amount of the stuff; but this is our vocation, and our readers demand such steadfast reporting. Makes me feel like an overpaid, vapid celebrity justifying his cocaine habit. Maybe Slice could foot the bill if I check into the Betty Ford Clinic to cure my pizza addiction.
I’m starting to sound like an alcoholic gone cold turkey. (Perhaps those HR benefits could include some counseling or a pizzaholics anonymous therapy session with the Friends of Adam K.) So, what’s a Slice city editor to do if he can no longer hoard the plum assignments for himself? This morning, Doc sounded optimistic but cautioned that it will be a while before I can hit the streets again. I’m already losing patience. Helping plan our news budget and attending page one meetings every morning are pleasant but not as fulfilling. And here I thought a coffee-free diet would trigger my worst reaction. Have you ever experienced pizza withdrawal? We should add a support group to the Pizza Peel for those who suffer from it.
I hope to return to the beat timorously, with a carefully planned slice now and then, perhaps for a protracted period of time. It’s a prospect that could endanger my burgeoning pizza-journalism career. Makes me wonder if I should just heed Warren Zevon’s last piece of advice and "enjoy every sandwich."
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.