Sunday, December 17, 2006

Free Opera with Pizza Delivery

...or Would you like an Aria with that Pizza?

Back when I was studying music in college some of us actually had to work for spending money. Spending money being food money. Namely, that would be 3 tacos for a buck on Taco Tuesday, and boxes of mac & cheese for the rest of the week until the next Tuesday rolled around. Sometimes when I had a few extra bucks I would even purchase 12 tacos for 4 bucks and eat them all week. Mmmmm….cold, stale tacos. Good times.

For that living I endured the hardship of delivering pizza pies from Pizza Hut. Yes, I was a Pizza Dude. I was called many things, Pizza Dude being my favorite. Also Pizza Guy, Pizza Man, the Hut Honcho, and sometimes just, “Yo, whattaIoweya?” I sped my little Honda CRX all around the city, finding shortcuts that would get those pies to their destinations. ‘Course, looking back now, driving through that open field and puncturing my exhaust system on hidden rocks wasn’t exactly the best shortcut decision. But the CRX was a perfect delivery machine. I could weave through traffic and even slide under the big monster trucks that were popular in those days. Never did I earn a even a mere scratch on my vehicle.

As a music student studying the ways of becoming an Evil Baritone, I needed time to practice, of course. Well, anyone who has attended music school knows that they suck the life right outta ya by requiring poor young singers to take measly one-credit performing classes and a host of other 2 or 3 credit classes, usually filling a full 18 credits with about 10 classes during the week. Finding time to practice was a chore. So I found it was great opportunity to sing while I worked. As I drove pies around town I rolled the window down, hooked up my Pizza Hut delivery sign, slipped on some cool shades, and sang my art songs and arias at full voice for all to hear. Sometimes I would sing with the radio, “There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you.” Ahhh…the nineties.

People walking down the street would indeed stare at me. I’m sure they were saying, “look, there goes a future evil baritone. I must order a pizza pie from him.” Stopping at red lights was fun. If a car next to me had their window down they would turn and give me that vacant look, and usually pump up their radio volume to give me more instrumental support. Yeah, I must have been a chick magnet, but I didn’t have time to stop & chat & get babe’s numbers. Had to get those pies to their owners while they were hot. The more pies I delivered the more tips I got.

I received some interesting tips during those years of pizza delivery. I lived in a college town. A small college town. A small liberal arts college town. VERY liberal. One night I delivered a Veggie Lovers to a townhouse close to campus. The blue smoke wafting out of the front door spoke volumes as to what the two gentlemen were studying that evening. They paid for the ‘Za with about 4 baggies of change, and the 5th baggie was for my trouble. It didn’t contain coins. Another time I delivered 6 or 7 ‘Zas to a big house on Nob Hill. Turns out it was a teenage party. Folks were outta town. They had an indoor pool. They had me bring the goodies back to the pool room where about 2 dozen scantily clad teenie boppers were jumping and splashing in the water. Cases of beer were everywhere. They were having a good time and tried to convince me to stay. “Tell ‘em your car broke down. C’mon! Have a beer & join us in the pool!” Hmmm…babes in bikinis…beer…a sure-shot at getting laid in a jacuzzi…

I definitely wasn’t evil enough back then. Responsibility won over. I left the bikini party. They gave me a beer to take for the road. Later that night I drank it and half a case a few more to drown away my lonely sorrows. Good times.

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