[This Commentary originally appeared in the July 6, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
It rains an awful lot in New Haven. It even rains in the winter. Of course, any amount of snow makes it worse. They don’t use salt in New Haven. They use sand. The snow melts (with the help of rain), leaving the sidewalks a puddle of a gritty mud. Over the years, though, one builds an immunity of sorts and learns to cope with the constant precipitation. (Maybe that’s why I rarely find it necessary to employ an umbrella.)
Despite its weather, New Haven stands as an attractive city. I’d say it’s about the same size as Rochester (despite a smaller central district, New Haven’s more densely populated suburbs yield a comparable metropolitan size to Rochester). I like New Haven if only for one thing – you can pretty much count on the abilty to get a slice of pizza at almost any time during the night or day.
Rochester, on the other hand, leaves much to desire in this particular category.
I occasionally feel the urge to consume pizza. Since my grandfather, who once owned a pizzeria, offered me my first job working in his pizza stand at the Hamburg (a.k.a. Erie County) Fair, there may or may not be some genetic reason for the yen. Nonetheless, I am at least comforted knowing pizza offers a relatively nutritious snack. Depending on your choice of toppings, pizza can feature every food group. In addition, while not less filling, it certainly tastes great. Besides, there’s nothing as American as a slice of pizza (except for maybe a hamburger, which may or may not have originated at the Hamburg Fair).
Whoever invented slices had someone like me in mind. My mouth waters at the thought of the suggestion of fresh pizza, but there’s no way I’m going to eat a whole pie (even a smaller one). I just need a little bite to fulfill my craving and I’ll leave a satisfied customer. A slice fits the criteria nicely. It’s also a lot less expensive.
I first suspected Rochester’s willingness to comply with my cuisinal needs while living in the city’s Park Avenue area. Here, the Mecca of Rochester’s young, seemed the perfect spot to support a food emporium for the serendipitous diner. Why, one could even get away with marginally higher prices.
One night I decided a slice of pizza would be just fine, and I embarked on what turned into a long and arduous journey to nowhere. At each corner, I saw pizza shops dimming their “OPEN” lights. I travelled far and wide in search of a slice of pizza. At the few establishments which remained open, slices seemed a foreign concept. When I finally arrived back to my apartment, my empty stomach could only look forward to Nick-at-Nite and a My Three Sons episode I had seen only thirty-seven times before. (I guess in order to reduce costs, the Nickelodeon channel bought only five episodes of each series it aired.)
Life hasn’t changed much since then. Just last Monday I decided dinner could best be served as a slice of pizza and a Pepsi. “This time,” I thought, “I had my car. I could not be denied.” Moreover, I found myself in the neighborhood of the University of Rochester. There could be no better “sure thing” than finding a pizza joint in the college section of town.
Yep, there were quite a few pizza places. I know. I went to them all. And at each stop, the all too familiar tune of “Sorry, we don’t serve slices” rang from behind the counter. I went as far as Henrietta before I gave up and got some Combo’s with pizza flavored filling at a random gas station. And I don’t get cable anymore.
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Thoughts at Large:
Flags for Rent
I’ve got this great solution to the Great Flag Burning Controversy of 1989. It doesn’t involve a constitutional amendment so it might be easier to accomplish.
First, the United States of America should patent the flag (or make it a trademark or service mark). This should be pretty easy since I doubt any private individual or institution has done this or even can do this.
Second, enter into license agreements with flag manufacturers so to control the creation and distribution of American flags. The government would best be able to do this if it had creative rights to the use and distribution of the flag (see Step One).
Thirdly, don’t sell American Flags anymore. The companies which make the flags would instead lease them to purchasers. At the time of purchase, the buyer would enter into a lease agreement which states the person is responsible for keeping the flag in good condition. Anyone who failed to properly maintain the flag would be fined. Of course, the lessee would not be liable for damage due to the weather or any other uncontrollable act. In addition, the cost of the lease would be a one-time charge, not an ongoing charge, and the length of the lease would be for a very long period of time (like ninety-nine years).
This idea should not cost anyone more money to buy the flag, but even if it does add a few pennies to the price, isn’t it worth it to protect our national symbol?
Turtles to Dent
A car stopped in front of me the other day while heading north on Route 65. It pulled off to the shoulder and the passenger got out. As I passed, I looked to see what caused the problem. Upon clearing the front of this car, a large old turtle startled me. His (or her) neck strained out of its shell in an apparent attempt to see if it was safe to cross. (Remember boys and girls, always look both ways!) I figured the turtle would probably never go fast enough to cross the street without being flattened by some speeding dump truck.
So it was with sympathetic pleasure that I watched in my rear view mirror as the aforementioned passenger picked up the turtle and walked it across the street. Well, that guy survived another year!
About two miles down the road, I thought, “What if the turtle had already crossed the road or just wanted to hang out on that shoulder for a while before turning back to go home and watch MacNeil-Lehrer?”
I hate when I think like that.
Last Week #15: Civil War and the World Economy (originally published June 29, 1989)
Next Week #17: Curse Those Romantic Subplots! (originally published July 13, 1989)
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]