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Jake Old: For the love of pizza

Jake Old • Updated Jul 20, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Playing the guitar. Singing. Arguing about music. Cooking. Going to the zoo and pretending the things I say in weird voices are the animals talking. Watching sports and telling anyone nearby I could have been 10 times the athlete of any of the professionals on TV “if only it weren’t for those nagging knee injuries I had in high school,” and not because I’m 5 feet, 7 inches tall, without an ounce of athleticism in my body. 

There are many things that I love doing, and for which I have a deep passion. However, nothing quite matches my love of pizza. 

Like bacon, loving pizza has become a meme in popular culture. Also like bacon, though, pizza is amazing and deserves all of the adulation it receives. 

I’ve never met a pizza I couldn’t appreciate. Burned around the edges? That’s fine — pepperonis are better crispy, anyway. Not enough cheese or toppings? I’m not going to sit here and say that’s fine, but I’ll manage. Is the crust too thin? Fold that sucker up and eat it taco style. Is the crust too doughy? Well, so am I, so we should get along fine. 

While the rest of the world debates whether pineapples belong on pizza, I’m just eating pizza and ignoring the argument. Pineapples aren’t my favorite topping, but I’ll eat them on a pizza if the alternative is not eating a pizza. 

My freshman year of college I ate pizza literally every day. Not figuratively, literally. Every single day of my freshman year of college, I ate pizza for at least one meal. Often for two meals. On those rare, delicious days when I ate the cycle and notched a plate of pizza for three different meals, I saw a glimpse of heaven. 

I remember calling my mom one time during that freshman year and telling her that, now out on my own for the first time, I was eating pizza almost exclusively. She tried to warn me that I would burn out on pizza and lose that flame, that spark, that passion. I know I don’t need to say this, what with the fact that I wrote an entire column devoted to my love of pizza and all, but she was wrong. 

One might think that eating pizza every day could lead to weight gain, particularly when paired with copious amounts of unhealthy beverages. And one would be right, except I was quite active back in those days, and actually lost weight while on the exclusive pizza diet. And these were not salads masquerading as pizzas; my pizzas were covered in grease and loads of toppings. 

I eventually had to slow down the pizza (and beverage) intake, lest I gain 300 pounds, but it was good run, and I think about it almost every day. 

These days, I eat pizza maybe once a week, and even then I feel like a divorced dad who laments only seeing his children every other weekend. 

My ideal pizza is New York-style with a ton of toppings. Like, figure out the appropriate amount of toppings for a pizza and then double it. 

I know other pizza lovers who will not eat fast food pizza, but I’m no pizza snob (see my earlier comments about pineapple). I welcome all forms of pizza. 

This weekend my nephew is turning 11 years old, and while normally the obligation of going to his birthday party is something I would dread, I’ve found the silver lining: He insists that pizza is served at the party. 

Jake Old is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at jold@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.

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