‘we want the text’

I’m fairly certain I’ve told this story before. I’m too lazy to look for it. I can’t remember the year, so there’s a chance I told this tale within 24 hours of it happening.

Despite not knowing the year, I remember what happened clearly one weekend evening at CNU.

For a while, my college newspaper used a bartering system for some of our advertisers. One of them was a pizza place that’s now defunct. I’ll leave it nameless, though. I was new to the paper’s executive board, and it was a rite of passage for the new editor to pick up the pizzas and subs we got in exchange for running their ads.

It was a bum deal.

The subs were greasy, and came with a special sauce, which appeared to be more grease. The pizza was gross. Just. Plain. Gross.

But it was free, and we were literally starving college students. If you’ve been in college, you feel for the homeless man you see eating something out of the garbage, because there was a point partway through junior year when you had $2.48 to your name and came close to rationalizing it like George Costanza.

Anyway, I was told to go down there, tell him I was from the paper, give him the proof copies he requested and he would hand me the food. Simple.

So I get sent down to the pizza joint, which of course, wasn’t owned by Italians. The owner had an extremely thick accent that sounded more Eastern Bloc than anything else.

So I walked in, the guy greeted me and I did my part.

The dude then started reading the paper. I didn’t know what to do for a moment. Finally, he broke the silence.

“We want the text,” he said.

“What‽” I said, adding You want the sex? in my head after that incredibly apt interrobang.

“The text! You wrote the text from the Aztec. We want the text!”

“Oh, you want a review.” I replied after a sigh of relief, going on to say I’d mention it to our food critic.

He then went back to reading the paper.

“Um. …”

Finally, someone from the kitchen came to the front.

“Oh, do you want your food?”

“YES.”

When I returned to the newsroom, I learned that everyone else knew everything that happened would happen. I also learned that they had been putting off having the critic do the restaurant until the end of the academic year because they knew it would be absolutely atrocious.

It was. Oh, it was.

We had a “Finger-Lickin’ Good Scale” from 1 to 5.

“It might as well say, ‘On the Finger-Licking Good Scale, we give it one finger — the middle one,” and editor said.

Obviously, that edition was the last one that carried the pizza ad.

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