There was this place not far from campus that served the best drunk pizza ever…ever…ever…
Oh! You caught that?
No, the pizza wasn’t drunk, the people consuming it on the other hand were drunk and most of the time. It was college. What did you expect? Our college town pizza place was called Pizza Shuttle. Spring Break Dormitory had a resident named Joke Guy. This older non-traditional gentleman made up the best joke one day about Pizza Shuttle. It went like this:
“What do you call the Italian Space Program?” Then he’d pause for the dramatic effect.
Then he’d laugh uncontrollably over his hilarious joke, belly shakes and all.
Hee hee, Hee hee, Hee hee
Joke Guy was a funny one and his book smarts were off the charts. This may have made him super awkward and a bit off-kilter, but everyone knew him around our dorm. To tell you the truth, I think he was the most popular guy living in Spring Break Dormitory that year.
I had a hard time conversing with him, but I gave it the…wait for it…old college try.
He and I could have taken our show on the road. I know, right?
You see, I had gotten the front desk job that my dad had asked me to apply for shortly before leaving me here at Spring Break Dormitory. I had no doubt I’d get the job. I was willing to work whenever they needed me to and I’d be happy about it. I met every single resident while working that front desk. Did they all like me, no. Did I like all of them, no. Fancy that…
A few times a week I’d have to work the 3:00-6am shift. I was given the duty of waking up everyone who had requested a morning wake up call. Yes, I was that girl. I was cheery, chipper and persistent. Usually, they’d ask me to call back thirty minutes later, so I would, then I’d honor them a third time. My friends would five-minute me to death. Yes, I babied them all. Waking people from a dead sleep to encourage them to get ready for class or working out was kinda fun.
It was the two hours between 3:00am and 5:00am that would drag on most nights. The only bonus? Joke Guy would eventually come around to make sure I was alive or awake. It was obvious that his mind was working overtime and that sleep didn’t come easily, because he was around a lot during those hours.
Joke Guy was good for company. I appreciated his team effort, even though he wasn’t employed by the college.
On occasion, I’d actually try to keep up with the conversation he wanted to have with me. Most of the time I’d smile and nod sweetly as I sat in my chair. I would muster up the strength to try and appear smart, but most of the time it was way over my head.
We’re talking not even in the same universe. I was plumb dumb around him. Then there were times I just couldn’t bloody well understand him. He had some speech issues on top of everything else. I tried though, I really did try. He’s a smart guy. And I’m not.
You caught that, right?
I’d try to ask questions in hopes that something he said would clue me in on what I was supposed to catch, but clearly wasn’t.
Yes, I know, I’m so polite.
He’d look at me like I was a Kindergartener, which is how I felt around him, and then proceed to answer with a lot of engineering terms. He would smile at me thinking I’d finally grasped his tutorial and then he’d quietly walk away. I’d be left to wallow in self-doubt. What did I honestly think I was contributing to society?
I mean that guy was…here…and I was…nowhere close.
Joke Guy would resurface from time to time throughout my shift just watching and securing the place. Actually, he was the night watchman, of sorts. Now that I think about it, he was quite fatherly in that regard or he thought my red hair and dimples were kinda cute.
Either way, comfort was found in knowing someone was up and around during those long overnight shifts. I was thankful for Joke Guy. He was helpful and made me laugh a bit. I could always count on him to wonder by and possibly stop to chat. He didn’t have to stop and visit, but I realize now we both kinda needed each other on those nights.
A bit of company was always welcome during my shifts. I was stuck on one side of the office wall and they the other, but then again that was probably for the best. Who knows what kind of people were going to be stopping by at 3:00am.
How’d we end up talking about Joke Guy, again? Oh yeah, his smart pun about Pizza Shuttle. The pizza was tasty there, actually. When fresh, it was yum-o and cheap! The restaurant was located on top of a basement pub called Charlie’s. Perfect placement, I’d say. The man who owned it, I believe, was a retired jockey.
I may be making that up, but I honestly believe it’s what I was told, by Charlie, himself. Although, I had yet to master the art of …well…hmm… “bull****”.
I’ll probably write a lot about Charlie’s Pub and Pizza Shuttle or I won’t, but lots of life lessons came from those two joints.
Like the day I finally met a guy who didn’t mind a pepperoni, black olive and pineapple pizza. Phew, I was beginning to worry.