Chapter 2 (sort of) in the book of my life, or Fear and Loathing as a Teenager growing up in the 1970’s

First the  Disclaimer: I do not condone any of the actions that you will be reading here or in any other chapters. And this is possibly why, today, I am so involved in the BSA in hopes of making it into Heaven, if one exists.

Oh and the names have been changed to protect those involved just in case the Statute of Limitations has not run out.

Today we cover Pizza. Yes pizza, who doesn’t love pizza, especially if you live in the New York area. You people from the mid and western States have no idea what real pizza tastes like. Why you can eat it hot. You can eat it cold from the box the next morning (a plus when you are in college on a tight budget). But this is a tale of kids growing up in the suburbs not wanting to eat a dumb sandwich on Wonder Bread.

Times were different back in the 1960’s and 1970’s growing up in America. First off, instead of having a cell phone, and checking in every 15 minutes, we only carried a quarter to make a call from a pay phone (Google it) if, and I stress, if there was an emergency. Otherwise our parents didn’t want to hear from us until we came home for dinner.  We rode our bicycles to the ‘woods’ and played Army or Man from Uncle, or even James Bond.

Now my kid brother was only, and is only 20 months younger than myself. This was good and it was bad. It was good because we could share friends, and it was bad because we could share friends. I’ll leave that for you to ponder.  I have many many stories to share and can never decide which should come first and which can wait. Well it just so happens that this weekend my brother is going on vacation and will be spending time with one of my other  ‘brothers’ while on his journey. So why not help dredge up some memories to share a brew over?

I was going to write about the flaming tennis ball incident, or the burning leaf pile (the list goes on and on and in its own way makes the Magilla seem like a short story) but I have chosen a story that I have not visited in some years.

Before I weave my tail, let me say that my kid brother was always the sensible one. Other than my mother, his is frequently the voice in my head telling me to ‘straighten up and fly right’. For him it was a nightmare. We were only a grade apart. I would spend a year giving my teachers grey hair and drinking problems. The following September my Brother would walk into class, the teacher would take attendance and literally cringe when they got down the list to our last name. I am sure that it happened something like this:

“Roberts?” (not our real last name but close enough). “Present” says my brother. Teacher, “I hope  to G*d that you are not like your brother!! I nearly retired after that nightmare.”

Well this would work in the kids favor, year after year. Why after I busted my butt breaking these teachers in for him, having him in class was like a breath of fresh air in the Spring after a long cold dark miserable winter. To this day, he is more sensible of the two of us. But again, another story for another day.

Back to the tale that I am going to weave here.

This was a time when men all wore black or grey suits, a white tie of neutral color, and a fedora to work. Sidebar time again that was during the week. On the weekends our Dad owned a ‘man purse’ polyester pants and jacket (although I don’t recall a Nehru jacket) and dressed as hip as he could get away with. Back to the shirts. All the shirts for work went to the Dry Cleaner. Light starch, folded neatly with a cardboard in the middle to keep everything crisp and neat. Remember this because this is important to the tale.

Well my kid brother, my brother from another mother (well continue to refer as Duke) and I were really hungry. There was a Pizza Parlor in town that had coupons printed on the top of the box. If we collected 10 coupons then we would get a free pizza. It just so happened that we did not have 10 coupons but really wanted pizza. Most, normal people would just bag it and make PB & J sandwiches, wash it down with milk and forget all about it. NOT US. No siree bub. We wanted pizza, by G*d and we were going to have pizza.

So, I went upstairs and found some shirt cardboard, which just so happened to be white on one side and cardboard colored on the other, just like a pizza box, a red marker because pizza boxes are printed in red, and a pair of scissors. We took out the whatever coupons that my mom had stashed away and went to work. You would have thought that we were forging $20 bills with the intensity that we went about getting our coupons to look like the ones that were legit.

We used a ruler to measure and make the square around the coupons. We worked hard, you know like when you have your tongue sticking out of the side of your mouth because you can concentrate better, printing ever so carefully to match the font on the coupons. We didn’t even know what a font was back then. All we knew was that it had to pass the muster of the delivery guy. And then one of us had to cut the coupon to make it look like it was indeed cut from a pizza box.

It was such a good job that we should have made some $20’s and gone to a movie just for giggles and shits..

Finally we had our 10 coupons, nervously we went to the kitchen phone and dialed (yes a real rotary phone as in those days touch tone was extra) the pizza parlor. We ordered our large pie and waited. During the wait we wondered if our job looked good. We shuffled the stack and tried to pick out the real and the counterfeited coupons. Then after an eternity of sweating it out, the doorbell rang. The Pizza kid handed us the pies, we handed him the coupons. He counted each and every one of them and we stood there trying to look like we were going to ruin a pair of ‘tighty whities’. But no he thanked us, stood a bit waiting for a tip, we shut the door. Afterall what did we know about tipping?

All during the feast we were waiting for the Police to knock on the door, or the phone to ring but nothing. we ate pizza and loved every bite of it.

It worked, like a charm. Now that we knew it could be done, we did it a few more times and it worked each time. We were at a crossroad in our lives, to the left was the ‘Straight and Narrow, and to the right was the road to, well pizza’. Pizza won out.

Doesn’t it always?

Stay tuned campers, I have more where this came from.

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 2 (sort of) in the book of my life, or Fear and Loathing as a Teenager growing up in the 1970’s

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