The Local Pizzeria, The Doc’s Take: I Will Ghostwrite Your Memoir for the Fee of Being Allowed to Root Around in Your Head.

 

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“The Local Pizzeria” is a clever name for a place. Almost too clever.

It reminds me of this bar in Des Moines, my fabled hometown, near Drake University called, “The Library.” Anecdotally, students could be headed to the bar, while at the same time maintaining to their parents back home, “Don’t worry, Mom and Dad! I spent all night at The Library!”

GET IT?!

I guess it’s not quite the same thing. “The Local Pizzeria” seems more poised to facilitate kind of an Abbot-and-Costello thing: “Where are you going?” “The Local Pizzeria.” “Okay, but which one?” “The Local Pizzeria.” “I heard you, but what’s the restaurant CALLED?” “THE LOCAL PIZZERIA.” Hilarity could most certainly ensue, under the right circumstances.

Were these the right circumstances, though? LET’S FIND OUT!!

 

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Pictured on right: part of stupid bike decoration. Read below. 

It’s an unpretentious joint on Foster. Well, I mean, just kind of hipster enough to have a cool vibe, not quite pretentious enough to ruin said vibe. It’s the kind of place where the menus are all either scrawled on chalk boards, or on signs that are supposed to resemble chalk boards. You know, kind of existing in that hazy netherworld of “is the supposed to be, like a cool underground bar kinda thing, or are these guys just pretending to be a cool underground bar thing?”

On one wall  (naturally not the wall I took a picture of, that would make too much sense) was a big mural of a map of Chicago’s north side. I’m a sucker for maps on walls. It’s a weird thing. I like how maps establish a sense of place. I remember, before map/navigation apps were a thing, I’d get fascinated by atlases. On long car trips, I’d just flip through the maps, gazing at the configurations of streets and intersections and landmarks on each page. It’s a thing I do now– that everybody does now, I assume– with Google Maps. There’s something oddly satisfying, like scratching at itch, about seeing the geography of a place laid out for you, contained, labeled, made sense of. [1]

Anyway, yes. Big map of Chicago on one wall. Bicycle randomly affixed to another wall, which mildly annoyed me. I get the temptation for restaurants to chase down that bric a brac decor aesthetic that T.G.I. Fridays and Applebess ruined by making it a franchised, mass produced, identical from city-to-city aesthetic. Bicycles on walls seem to be a staple of this aesthetic. But bicycles don’t belong on walls. Why would one put a bicycle on a wall?

The Local Pizzeria serves it up either by the slice or by the pie, which is one of the reasons I picked ’em for tonight. Yes, yes, I’m back on the trying-not-t0-have-my-caloric-intake-exceed-what-would-be-necessary-to-sustain-four-or-five-Docs bandwagon. [2]  I got a slice of veggie pizza, which kind of took me by surprise by looking basically like it came with a forest canopy atop it. Spinach, I guess? I was kinda skeptical I was getting tricked into eating a salad. Which would be a cardinal offense, if so. I don’t care what you put in ’em, salads are the fucking worst.

 

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Nope. Pizza was delicious. PERFECTLY crunchy crust. Cheese that’s juuuuust flavorful and abundant enough to fall on this side of decadent. Little chunks of other stuff beneath the spinach– garlic, feta cheese, super thin little slices of onion? The slice of veggie I had was juuuuust sweet enough to be exactly the kind of flavor I like in pizza, and the crust…as we all know, the crust makes it for me. Without a quality crust, you can get outta here. The crust worked.

 

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The Maestro, after getting  a slice of his usual pepperoni fix, and Mrs. Maestro decimated a half mahgerita, half carmelized onion pie. Mrs. Maestro says she knows what the title of her memoir is going to be. I offered to ghost write it for her. She inexplicably declined. [3]

 

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RARE GEM: For-real sketch of the Doc and Mrs. Maestro. We were singing together. “Ten Thousand Candles in the Wind.” I swear I’m not making this up.

 

Conversation included the Doc’s disappointment to find that, once one begins reading articles on the Internet, and thus becomes a literal expert in any given thing, ESPECIALLY fields one has no education or training in, apparently the Steve Avery guy from “Making a Murderer” totally did it. Like, to the tune of, even if the cops planted the stuff Avery’s defense team claims they might have planted? That stuff becomes incidental and almost quaint compared to the stuff they couldn’t have planted. Almost like, here you have these rubes who are like, “Hey, I know what’ll really git ‘im, let’s put that key right there in his bedroom!”, and the rest of the crime scene is like sighing in exasperation, saying, “Dudes…thanks, but don’t help.” [4]

 

 

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Pictured again: stupid bike on wall. Also, in case you’re unfamiliar with Chicago, everything is next a Subway here. True story: my acupuncturist is right next to and right around the corner from two separate Subways. And one is actually better than the other. 

 

Thumbs up for the Local Pizzeria. Bike notwithstanding.

 

NOTES AND ERRATA

 

[1] When I got my first GPS in my car– a Garmin– I remember being just fascinated, transfixed, by the geographical features I could now appreciate beyond what was in my immediate field of vision. That there was a hidden road behind that copse of trees. That there was a lake not half a mile from the highway that I never knew was there. Stupid stuff, but for some reason I love knowing it. Even now, whenever I look something up on Google Maps, I’ll linger, zooming in and out on various parts of town. You’d think it’d help with my sense of direction. [a]

[2] Speaking of vaguely body-shaming things, how about those Trump statues, huh? I just watched an ardent feminist friend of mine [b] post a Facebook status about how, whatever one’s feelings about the Trumper, maybe those feelings could be limited to the things he says and does, as opposed to the aesthetic commentary invited by the statues. At which point, some dude promptly jumped on her status and mansplained to her about how the nakedness of the statue was an allusion to “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the corpulence of the statue was a commentary on Trump’s love of excess, and the statue’s Lilliputian penis a commentary on how Trump had essentially bragged about his own prodigious member on the campaign trail. To which my friend responded coldly, “Yes. I understand basic symbolism.” I have to say, most mansplaining in the wild is a little more subtle than that, but every now and then I suppose you have to just offer up the example that informs the stereotype, eh?

[3] “You just want to analyze me,” she said via text just now. “No, no, no,” I replied. “I just want to *continue* analyzing you with more *data* than I currently have available.” Perhaps I shouldn’t tip my hand so boldly like this. [c]

[4] Incidentally, maybe don’t fall asleep while binging on “Making a Murderer.” It messes with your dreams.

[a] It does not.

[b] Shut up, I have them. More than you’d think, actually.

[c] Don’t tell Mrs. Maestro, but I like her a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

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