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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Be kind to your pizza dude(tte) friends

... because that duck may be somebody's mother.

Adri sent me a fabulous link from "This I Believe," a reincarnation of a 1950s radio series that features citizens reading essays on their personal beliefs. Monday's segment featured Sarah Adams' philosophy: be cool to the "pizza dude". (Full text is available from preceding link.)

Let's face it: We've all taken jobs just to have a job because some money is better than none. I've held an assortment of these jobs and was grateful for the paycheck that meant I didn't have to share my Cheerios with my cats. In the big pizza wheel of life, sometimes you're the hot bubbly cheese and sometimes you're the burnt crust. It's good to remember the fickle spinning of that wheel.

First, the Lebowski-esque terminology is priceless. Yes, let us all remember our "pizza dude," he who brings us piping-hot, cheese-laden sustenance for under $20, plus tip. (You do tip your pizza dude, don't you?) He travels through wind, rain, snow, and fog, not to deliver the mail or save anyone's life, but because you're hungry and don't want to cook. He works for a ridiculously low sum of money. He fuels his car and funds his own repairs. There are few jobs more selfless.

What if he is not a "pizza guy" at all?

My friend KAH delivers pizza a few nights a week, to supplement her income as a kickass microbiologist. (I am not making that part up.) It earns her a little extra money for health insurance, and also gives her a priceless opportunity to ponder the latest gender assumptions in our society. Have you ever looked for the "pizza girl?" The title sounds demeaning. "Pizza deliveryperson" is far too clinical, while "pizza deliverer" is awkward to say and sounds uncomfortably biblical. Some folks attempt to ignore the deliveryperson altogether by saying, "Pizza's here!" or, "Hey! Pizza!" as if they were greeting their dinner, and not the person holding it. KAH was impressed the other day by an older man, who opened the door without looking closely at her and said something along the lines of, "Hey, son, how's it going?" When he saw the obviously female person behind the pizza, he stuttered and backtracked and told her he supported what she was doing. She told me it was charming, and after thinking about it a while, I agreed. In an era where both men and women take extra (sometimes extraordinary) jobs to make ends meet, it seems fitting to remind people that pizza delivery--or any other job--is no longer just a man's lot.

And, from recent conversations with KAH, a few reminders. Yes, it's still customary to tip--fifteen percent, or even twenty-five percent if it's sleeting/the middle of the night/out in the boondocks/dodging a guard dog. The terms of the delivery do not include catching runaway pets or children. If you want your food, be home to receive it. Make the street number visible. Do not change your mind and say you don't want the food anymore. Say thank you.

And what do we call this person? I'm still open to suggestions.


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