Back to the library



Rowan and I spent most of last Saturday on the Southside going to craft and dollar stores. By about 5 we started to get really hungry and decided to go to the nearby Pizza Hut. We hadn't been to one in a few years, and even more years before that, but figured it'd be fun.

Firstly, I'm not a Pizza Hut or fast food snob. I love fast food, slow food, all types of food. You just have to set your expectations correctly. People who complain that their Taco Bell taco is greasy or that the meat is nasty have to remember: you paid 89¢s; for it. That's only a couple of tollbooth tolls away from ramen. Enjoy it in context.

Not to get hung up on the Taco Bell thing, but do you ever feel slightly embarrassed when someone you know sees you with the Taco Bell bag? They could be carrying a bag of dog heads but all of a sudden you're the weirdo.

"Taco Bell, eh? Good luck with that!" Looking at you like you have some sort of sick fetish. "Look at the Taco Bell guy, boy he must love to shit!" This needs to be addressed in the ads at some point.

But anyway, Rowan and I are in the Pizza Hut. The most stonedest Pizza Hut in history. It wasn't obvious when you walked in, but after interacting with the staff, it was more than apparent.

Our waiter, which is being generous, put the bong down long enough to get our drink orders. After the drinks came a couple of napkins which were more tossed in our general direction than purposefully placed on the table. Honestly, the guy could have stubbed out his blunt in my eye and it would have at least meant he registered our existence.

We eventually ordered two personal pan pizzas and a regular order of breadsticks. Our host took the order sans paper & pen, which was fairly impressive given the circumstances. He then asked, "Is that it?" in an incredulous tone. As if that couldn't possibly be our entire order.

Well what the hell else am I going to order at Pizza Hut? We got the pizza, that's the extent of my obligation. "Oh I'll have the filet mignon and oysters Rockefeller. Throw a few truffles on there as well if it's not too much of a troub."

Meanwhile, as we're waiting for the breadsticks, Rowan has a clear view of the rest of the patrons and their assorted grotesqueries. There are two main tables here: the rednecks and the wedding rehearsal (funeral?) family.

The rednecks are just a couple of redneck dudes sharing a pizza and drinking Mountain Dew. Every so often one of them stares at Rowan, which prompts me to ask "Which one?" so I can go kick his ass. Rowan calms me down by saying I shouldn't ruin my dinner by kicking peoples' asses. She suggests we follow him home after we eat so I can humiliate him in front of his own wife and children.

I ponder this and decide they'll probably be gone by the time we're done eating, so I let it go.

You might think the rednecks would be the gross ones here, but they were actually fine. They even cleaned up their table when they were done, stacked their plates and everything. No, the true nastiness came from the rehearsal/funeral people. Specifically, their children.

Warning: after you read this next paragraph you may never use the parmesan shakers at Pizza Hut again.

This one kid, this little girl, who is not being watched by anyone other than her gawking peers, takes the parmesan shaker and shoves the whole top in her mouth and drinks from it. Doesn't hold it away from her face, doesn't unscrew the jar, just pops the silver top in there and goes for it.

Rowan is immediately put off and then we look at our own shaker. Given the amount of dried tomato sauce (god I hope it was tomato sauce) and bits of crust permanently bonded to the little openings, we probably wouldn't have used it anyway, but that little girl sealed the deal.

At this point the breadsticks came, followed not long after by the pizza. And you know, as few times as I've been there recently, and as many times as I went there as a kid, the flavor has never changed. I mean, not an ounce. I said this to the waiter, "not an ounce", and his ears perked up for a second, then he let out this weird little laugh from the back of his throat.

Oddly, right as we were finishing up, the waiter comes along with new drinks and asks if we need anything else. Like he all of a sudden became extra-lucid and remembered he worked for tips. But we declined the additional half gallon of soda and just got the check.

So dinner's done, rednecks are gone, and the little girl by now is peeing on the salad bar. I take the check up to the counter and meet the manager who's busily working over a pizza for pick-up, placing the pepperoni into a perfect spiral. I could have probably made it out of there without paying, but I'm not the type to take advantage.

I give the guy my card, pick up a pen and wait for the receipt. When it comes I start to sign, but the manager doesn't see this and reaches for something so I can write.

"No thanks, I'm all set."

"Oh, you already got a pen?"

"Yeah, that and you can't write with a Slim Jim."

"Ha! Ain't that some shit. You mind if I eat it then?"

"Nope, it's all yours."

And with that, Rowan and I headed out for the car.

You know, I really like getting a starlite mint after my Pizza Hut meal. Always have. Something about the peppermint really goes well with the fading taste of tomato, cheese, pepperoni and soda. I grabbed one on the way out and popped it in my mouth just before pulling out of the parking lot. But this Pizza Hut managed to spring one last surprise on me.

Turns out their mints aren't minty at all, but cinnamon. Had to toss it out the window, such was my disgust. Even after all that went on during our visit, that's the only real disappointment.

Back to the library

Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield