Some — many — maybe most — of you on here know me as a writer. That’s kind of my thing, the writing, blogging, over-sharing through the written word. It’s my schtick, if you will. Some people make movies, some save the world…I write.
But, as I’m sure a good portion of you are aware, I have a secret night-life as well. A second identity, something of a superhero person.
By day a writer, by night a…*drumroll please*…pizza-slinger!
What’s a pizza-slinger, you ask? Great question. A pizza-slinger is a professional seller of pizza, a man or woman whose business is transporting slices of pizza from the counter to the oven to your possession, a person tasked with “slinging” those delectable slices of goodness from place to place as swiftly as possible to ensure you get to eat it before your hungry stomach collapses in on itself.
A pizza-slinger, in short, is the reason the rest of the world gets to glory in the majesty of pizza.
I’m in charge of the closing shift at a pizzeria in Manhattan that has a combination of counter service (at the front of the restaurant) and waiter service (in the back). Which makes for a series of unfortunate events when the front fills up and people try to take their counter slices to the restaurant.
But that’s not what this post is about. No, this post, my friends, is an ode to pizza-slinging. See, I love my job, with all its ins and outs, topsies and turvies (despite the daily influx of tourists who berate me for not letting them use the bathroom and the moments of high-stress that accompany a dinner rush — phone ringing with deliveries, oven chock-full of pizza, line clumping in front of my eyes).
Pizza-slinging is maybe not considered as noble a calling as, say, doctoring or teaching or even reporting on world events, but there are many reasons it’s possible to love, enjoy and thrive in it.
See, for one, this job came at a time when I desperately needed any kind of employment — I didn’t care what form it took. This job provided a paycheck that was sorely missed and is pretty much the reason I was able to stay in New York City. Without my job as a pizza-slinger, I’d have packed up and moved back to South Carolina at the end of July. For that reason, if for no other, I can never be unhappy with this job.
It’s more than that, though. This job is a people-job, as most service ones are. It thrusts me daily into the lives of countless New Yorkers, and human interaction is not just something my extroverted self craves, but something my depressed self needs in order to survive without sinking into sorrow. Yeah, I sometimes get yelled at or am frustrated by difficult customers, but I also get to build relationships with the “regulars” (like the lady who knows my name, the man who says he misses me when I have a day off, the Italian youth who came four times in three days and sought my advice on their faulty Airbnb) and have really excellent one-time conversations with interesting people.
And, on the same people note — guys, the people I work with. I love them. They’re amazing. Several of them have graduated from work-friends to real-life friends, people whose happiness I’m invested in and who have taken steps toward ensuring my own well-being. And the rest brighten my life on the daily with their smiles, teasings, and camaraderie.
They’re my family, just like the one I was born into or the one I found at church.
And that’s the crux of it, the reason I’m a happy pizza-slinger despite my medical leave from grad school, the fact that I’m 23 and still haven’t published a book or been on a date and all the pitfalls of having an irregular work schedule: because of the people.
It always comes back to the people for me. Granted, I love the pizza we sell and firmly believe in it, but that’s not why I do it, it’s not why I work hard and devote myself fully to my shifts. I do it because I love and respect the people I work with and for.
I’m a wanna-be published author whose obsession with and craving for New York City led to a job behind a pizza counter, all for the sake of staying in this city. I could have left and, quite possibly, found a good job as a journalist elsewhere. My love for this city led to taking this job.
And now I love this job. Pizza-slinging might not be a traditional super-power, but hey — the people need pizza. I can give them what they want. That’s pretty super (hero).