I’ve been eating the same hippie/vegetarian food since 1974. That’s a long time. — When I converted from the guy who needed to have meat every day, in order not to feel poor, to a guy who never, ever eats meat, I began putting together my own little 3-ring binder cookbook, full of easy recipes. Tip: if you convert to a vegetarian or vegan diet, it really, really helps to know how to cook for yourself.
When I made the cookbook, I wrote “Randy’s Easy/Good Dinners!” on a piece of paper, and slipped it into the clear plastic cover. When I got married, my wife made a new label for it, which said “Randy and Sally Jo’s Favorite Recipes”. When we got divorced, I turned that piece of paper over, and wrote “Randy’s Easy/Good Dinners!” on it again. But yeah, it’s the same 3-ring binder, with the same recipes. And, I finally got sick of making and eating them. Black Beans Coriander may sound exotic. Baked Veggies a la Moosewood may sound mouth-watering good to you. But 42 years of eating those dishes over and over and over again can get to you. Well, it got to me….
Coincidentally, right around the time I knew I couldn’t stomach one more serving of Lentil Loaf from the kitchen of Randy Bowles, I moved to a new neighborhood. I moved into a swingin’ senior apartment building (all but one word of that is true). And, I found myself living within easy walking distance of one of Seattle’s favorite pizza joints, the near-legendary Pagliacci Pizza. — Hard to pronounce, harder to spell. Now, I was the kind of guy who never ate out, since I could cook. But, being sick of my cooking, I stopped in and bought a slice. And I was on my way to being hooked.
Pagliacci offers a different variety of vegetarian pizza each day, all delicious. I returned the next day, had a slice, enjoyed it, and walked home to do some figuring. First, I determined that, since I lived three and a half blocks from the place, I would get seven blocks of walking in every day, at a minimum. – A healthy thing. Then, I did some quick math. I realized that, if I could get by with one slice per day, I could eat at Pagliacci for the same amount of money I had been spending when I cooked at home. So I decided I would just eat pizza for a while, and see how that went.
I soon made friends with the restaurant’s entire staff. The friendly, interesting young people appreciated me, appreciating them. They told me not everyone is “nice to the help”. Restaurant workers often end up having a lot of abuse piled on them during a shift. — Well, my moto is this: I try to treat people the same, whether they are barrister or barista. So I made friends with the Pagliacci crew. Walking in every night was like walking into Cheers, for me. (The crew even gave me a Christmas card for Christmas 2015. My favorite worker, Ms. C, signed the card, “Mrs. Randy Bowles”. — Yeah, in my dreams! I mean, she did actually sign it that way, but….)
Well, one evening, I dropped in, around 6 pm, for my now-customary slice. Since I was an every-day guest, I had learned to take advantage of the Pagliacci Slice Card promotion.
The place gave out these little cards, which the cashier stamped every time you bought a slice. After you bought twelve slices, the next slice would be on the house.
So there I was, in line, just standing there, quietly waiting my turn to order, not bothering anyone, not really paying attention to my surroundings. But then, I did. Because I noticed that the guy in front of me was Seattle’s own Macklemore. He was handing one of my Pagliacci friends a small wad of bills, with which he paid for his order. My friend thanked him, and told him how much she enjoyed his music. He quietly thanked her, and walked over to the soft drink dispenser to serve himself a cold drink. I walked up to the cash register and handed my completely filled-in Slice Card to my pal, in order to get my free slice of pizza. She gave me a sweet smile, and said, “Thanks, Randy. Here’s your free pizza”. I took it from her, and then, I laughed out loud. I said, “It’s funny. Macklemore had to pay for his slice, and I got mine for free”. At that point, Mr. C, shift leader, and no relation to the above-mentioned Ms. C, walked over and said, “That’s because he’s Macklemore; and you’re Randy Bowles”. I broke out in an even bigger grin and started to walk away with my free pizza. Young Mr. C winked at me, and said, “And besides, I think he can afford it”.
Tragically, I had to quit eating at Pagliacci. I mean, I had to totally walk away. Forever. Because I got too fat, even on just one slice per day. All that cheese, I guess…. I have about twenty pairs of pants — everything from Dockers, to cutoffs I made myself, to overalls. When three-fourths of them stopped fitting, I knew that was the end. I had the Dunlap Effect. My belly Dunlapped over my belt…. The above-pictured Slice Card will never be filled out. When I die, and they haul me out of my senior apartment, and go through my things, someone will say, “Hmm, he had ten slices to go”. As they slip it in their pocket.
And yeah, tonight, home-cooked Woodstock Veggies and Rice is on the menu. (How long ago was Woodstock? When do I get to stop being a hippie?)
I saw a photo of Macklemore the other day. He looked slim and trim. — I guess he got the last laugh.
Once I decided I needed to quit eating at Pagliacci (I made it a New Year’s resolution) I never went back. Sometimes, when I go by the place, I look in the window and I wave at “Mrs. Randy Bowles”. 😦
It was a lucky coincidence that I had twelve stamps on my Slice Card when I went for pizza that evening. Otherwise, I would have no story. I mean, I could say, “Hey, I saw Macklemore at Pagliacci”. Big deal…. I saw Queensryche at a local cafe in the mid-80’s, and nothing happened.
I know you expect me to put a link to a Macklemore video here. Instead, you get a folksinger named Christine Lavin, singing her original composition about how well-rounded pizza will make you. It will!
PS: What is my favorite Macklemore song? This may be no surprise to you: Wings.