Pizza Me Bitter Friday Giftures

I still remember it like it was yesterday. I had made the most awkward transition of my life from elementary school to junior high. It was the first day of 7th Grade English, and my teacher asked us all to do my least favorite thing ever. The thing an anxiety ridden, shy, introverted, new-to-junior-high kid least wants to do in front of a room of hostile strangers. Introduce myself and tell people what my favorite food was.

All of the introvert followers in the room tensed up. You’re imagining thousands of silimar scenarios in your past. A thousand thoughts are flooding your mind like Utah’s mountain snow is dumping in our rivers right now. What is my name again? Will I use my formal name Bitter Benjamin, or will I insist on them calling me my favored nickname Bitter Ben? I’ve got to get this right. My whole career and future at this institution of middle learning depends on this. What is my favorite food? Why didn’t the teacher give us any practice time for this? What order are the introductions going in? Is it alphabetical? Is it by row? By column? What food do I like again? I can’t say peanut butter sandwiches, can I? That seems too immature. I’m in junior high now. I’m practically an adult now. I need to have a mature sounding food. And what was my name again?

By the time the teacher got to me, I was still very much in decision mode. I spit out something that sounded like Eminem at the end of Godzilla, but not in a genius way. It came out incoherent and garbled because my mouth was working much faster than my brain. “Mynameisbitterbenandmyfavoritekindoffoodis mashed potatoes.” The last part came out in slow motion, but it was already in motion and I couldn’t stop it. Mashed potatoes? Did I just say mashed potatoes? Holy crap, I just said mashed potatoes. Wait, that’s normal right? A lot of people like mashed potatoes. I was fine until I heard a girl on the other side of the room mock my answer. “Really? Mashed potatoes? Okaaay.”

She probably said it as an innocent, spur of the moment comment. To me, it hit my inner fragile junior high ego like a Mjolnir to the chest. All of sudden, they weren’t concentrating on the importance of my name. They were focused on mashed potatoes. My future career is shot. Just like Ryan from the Office became the Fire guy, because he started a fire by burning his pita in a toaster oven, I was now mashed potato guy.

I started planning the rest of my life as a mashed potato salesman at a place called Spud Nick’s or Tuber Culosis. I only had two choices of where to live when I grew up, Idaho or Ireland. I would have to turn my back on Transformers and Super Mario and my favorite toy would now have to be Mr. Potatohead.

Or, I could pick myself up, and figure out what the cool kids favorite food was. Since I would have a bunch more introductions to go, I immediately started analyzing what the other kids liked as their favorite food. One food kept coming up over and over again. Pizza. And they were right. Pizza being someone’s favorite food is not an opinion. It’s a fact.

I didn’t study for the favorite food pop quiz in that first class, but I would definitely be ready for the introduction test the next time. I went home and studied hard. I kept repeating to myself over and over again, “My name is Bitter Ben and my favorite food is pizza.” I even prepared myself for the follow up questions, in case they asked. What is your favorite topping? “Pepperoni of course.” I even learned it Jeopardy style. “What is Pepperoni?”

I got so good at pizza in junior high, that it propelled me well into my career and future life. They say you hardly remember anything from school, like Math, or English or Science or Spanish. But I’ve always remembered my favorite food from Junior High. That one mistake of saying mashed potatoes could have ruined me. But I took my life back by dedicating it to destroying my mashed potato reputation and elevating pizza to the top of the food chain.

When I started my first job in Seattle, a couple of co-workers and I ordered pizza every Friday for lunch. It became so much of a tradition, that we renamed Friday and called it Pizza. “Happy Pizza!” we would greet each other every Pizza (Friday). Pizza and I are so much a pizza each other, that I don’t even have to get a tattoo. I have a permanent triangular shape on my stomach of a slice of pepperoni pizza. And my son, in honor of my obsession with pizza, decided to fall off a slippery rock, and got a deep gash on his leg from a tree branch in the shape of, you guessed it, a pizza slice. I was truly touched that he did that for me, and pizza.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been obsessed with pizza. The reason why? I haven’t had it for two weeks, which is unnatural for me. I have it almost every week, and for whatever reason, the universe is conspiring against me. If I don’t have it tonight, I might spontaneously turn into a mashed potato. That can’t happen. I’ve already got a plan to order pizza from the gym, so it’s ready to pick up the moment I finish. I don’t care if my wife and kids don’t want it. It’s happening and it’s happening tonight.

You want to know what else is happening today? Bitter Friday Giftures. They won’t taste as good as the pizza, but they will be just as filling.


…to your awkward phase.

You’re going to feel very…

…mutant like.

Teachers are going to ask you really tough questions…

…like, “What is your name?” and “What is your favorite food?”

And introverts are going to be like…

While they go deep down…

…to figure out their words.

And before they sort out their thoughts…

…end up blurting out, “Po-Ta-Toes”

And realized that they’ve…

…ruined their life.

There’s only one way to get your life back…

…which is to study…other people’s favorite foods.

And come to the scientific conclusion that the correct answer to your favorite food…

…is pizza.

You can’t just half-heart the day…

…like Taco Tuesday.

You have to rename the day…

…as Pizza.

The only way to fill the hole in your empty chest…

…is with pizza.

It’s taken dedication and hard work, but I think I’ve finally shed the “mashed potato guy” label with the label I truly want in life, besides bitter. I gives me great pride now whenever someone calls me “the pizza guy”.


Bitter Pizza Me Ben


13 thoughts on “Pizza Me Bitter Friday Giftures

  1. Pingback: The .Gif Friday Post No. 803 – Drainman, Mudsplat & Taco Tip – Tacky Raccoons

  2. I love mashed potato, but while I don’t recall my first mouthful of potato I forever recall in a place and time far away when someone took us to Pizza Hut. I didn’t even know what a pizza was or why it lived in a hut, but that first bite was food heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

Your Bitter Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.