Humble (pizza) Pie
I fucked up.
I dropped my kid off at my cousin's house on Saturday. She lives in Nutley, NJ... Probably about 30 minutes from my house.
While in Nutley, my wife and I decided to grab a quick bite at a pizza parlor we used to frequent called Ralph's. We hadn't been to Ralph's in ages but remembered it being as being above average, so it was an easy decision. And since (as I mentioned above) we live a half-hour away, taking it to go was not an option... Pizza is EXPONENTIALLY better right out of the oven, and I am not fond of eating in the car, so I sit down in pizza parlors whenever I can.
Ralph's has a typical pizzeria layout... You walk in and the ovens are on the right with a couple (I think 3) small tables on the left. Then, there is another dining room to the far left and a private dining room in the back. Our plan was to destroy a pie at one of the three small tables out front.
The place was bustling with take-out orders, so instead of waiting for someone to serve us, I decided to step up to the counter to place our order, while my wife grabbed a table and drinks from the fridge.
As I was waiting to order, I turned towards the door and viewed two young Mexican gentlemen walking in. And I politely nodded and turned my back to them as they took their place behind me at the counter waiting to be served.
No sooner did I turn around when I heard one of them say to the other, "That's the guy from Barstool... We should sit near him."
Now, unlike Dave, Dan, or Glenny, I hardly get noticed anywhere I go. I have a slight bit of recognition around these parts, but if I had to give it a name, I would consider myself a V-list celebrity... Right behind local politicians but ahead of car dealership owners that inject themselves into TV commercials.
Still, every now and again, someone picks me out of a crowd and acknowledges that I exist.
Again… It happens rarely… But when it does, it's almost always a pleasant experience, and selfishly, it makes me feel good.
So when these gents noticed me, I decided to eliminate any discomfort they may have had starting a conversation by making the first move and introducing myself to them.
As I turned, I said, "Yeah… I'm Large."
And it was then I realized something.
It wasn't me… Obviously.
I was in a fucking pizza parlor, and although my obesity might dictate my popularity would crest in restaurants like this, there is actually a much thinner juggernaut who rules these joints.
As the words "Large" left my lips I completed my turn towards these fellows and saw them both staring to the left at a plaque on the wall above an empty table that displayed an all-too-familiar face…
So now these 2 fellows behind me look back to the right as their wonderment at Dave's abnormally high rating was rudely interrupted by a bloated stranger who, FOR SEEMINGLY NO REASON AT ALL, decided to introduce himself while in line for a pizza.
What do you do in this situation?
Do you just turn back around, and pretend like it never happened?… Perhaps the guys behind you will mumble to each other in the confusion about what you just did, but at least there would be some finality to the experience.
Do you look past them, and pretend that you are either talking on a wireless earbud or act like you were talking to your wife at a table in the distance?… Again, there would be some confusion, but they would hopefully get the impression that your ham-handed introduction wasn't pointed towards them, and you would get some finality again.
Or do you do what I do, and double down on the intro?
"Ohhhh… You guys were talking about Dave! My bad, but, you see, he's my boss… I am Large from Barstool."
And nothing but blank stares from both of them… One pretended to check his phone.
At this point, I became thankful that nobody else was there to witness this social blunder… That was until I saw my wife in the background watching this unfold and LOVING the fact that I was digging myself into a hole with two hungry Hispanic strangers.
"Sorry, you guys… That had to sound weird. 'Large' is just a nickname… A 'nom de plume,' if you will… And since I work at Barstool, I thought you fellas were referring to wanting to sit near me."
- 1.) Sounded even more embarrassing than anything I had said so far.
- 2.) Was met with the same stone-faced silence.
- And 3.) Made the nosy pizza makers behind the counter start to cringe.
I am not sure why I decided to go on… I think at this point maybe I no longer need to be recognized but simply wanted to defend my heterosexuality. Even though these two were complete strangers I will never see again, it was important to me that they didn't go away thinking I was the type of guy that trolls for man-meat while in line for Italian delicacies.
And even if I was, I didn't want these two weird-looking and poorly-dressed assholes thinking they were my type.
"Plus, (pointing) I have a wife over there, so I wasn't necessarily looking for any company."
They turned in the direction of my pointing finger and my wife immediately turned away like she didn't know me. Their poker faces looked back at me in utter disgust.
Luckily I was bailed out by the pizza man, who was now (finally) ready for my order, so I asked for a LARGE pie and a LARGE bottle of Pellegrino… I emphasized the word "large" both times, and then looked back at my mute boyfriends to see if they were amused… You know… Because "Large" is my nickname and all…
The guy behind the counter then asked, "To stay or to go?"
Without hesitation, I saw my way out of this fucking mess and quickly replied, "I think I will take this one on the road." as my bride was already heading out the door with our sparkling water.
Take a report.
For the record… Ralph's has very good pizza.
Not as good as Dave's aggressive score of 8.9 might imply, but certainly worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood.
However, it's a TERRIBLE place to pick up dudes… Stick to Rest Stops…
One more thing… At this point, if you open a pizza parlor wouldn't you just make up a plaque saying Dave gave you an 8?