Friday, April 18, 2008

Pepperoni Pizza and Other Friend-Screening Techniques

Sorry to all of the RJ fans out there, but he's all busy with school or a social life so that means two straight posts by me. This one was inspired by an IM conversation that I had with RJ today, so I guess that's his contribution for this week. Oh, and if you find this post offensive, then it was RJ's idea.

We started talking about pepperoni pizza this morning. And by talking, I mean I just IM'd RJ (even though we sit next to each other) and he responded favorably. I don't really mind pepperoni pizza. I guess it tastes okay. According to How Stuff Works (yes, this is really how I spend my Friday night), 35.7% of you would list pepperoni as your favorite pizza topping - the highest of any topping. Despite its popularity, I think pepperoni pizza (specifically, aggressive campaigning on behalf of pepperoni) can be used as a friend/acquaintance screening device.

The theory goes something like this - If you have several acquaintances and are trying to determine which ones you want to upgrade to friend status, invite them over to your house/apartment/office for pizza. Try to get the group to decide on the appropriate topping(s) for your pizza. Most will probably say something along the lines of "oh I don't really care - I like anything." For those people, you can either grant them the upgrade to friend status (if you're looking for flexible, low-maintenance friends) or you can apply another screening technique (other options listed below). If someone requests veggie, or something not found on the average pizza menu, then they're either a vegetarian or just an interesting person, so you can upgrade them to friend status. Everyone needs at least one vegetarian friend. The person that you have to look out for is the person who actively campaigns for pepperoni. I'm not really sure why, but I've never gotten along with most pepperoni lobbyists. Not someone who goes along with or offers mild support to the pepperoni campaign-they're probably decent people. As are people who order pepperoni by the slice, or want a pepperoni-inspired Chicago style pizza. It's the Karl Rove of the pepperoni campaign that you have to look out for- working behind the scenes to get others to support their candidate. I'd recommend severing all ties with this person immediately. If they are aggressively campaigning for pepperoni, just politely ask them to leave.

So maybe the above scenario won't present itself very often. I guess you could just be the type of person that offers instant upgrades to friend status, or likes to just let these types of things happen naturally without applying some type of evaluation process. Or maybe you're the person that would campaign for pepperoni. If this is the case, then we have some other screening criteria that you can apply:

Screening Technique #2 -Think of a band or musician that you are indifferent about. If you hear them on the radio you don't change the station. You know there's probably something better on, but it's not worth the effort to reach for the dial. Hopefully you've got a handful of bands/artists that meet that criteria. Now think about die hard fans of that band or artist. Do they annoy you? Back in the day, Blink 182 fit this criteria for me. The music was harmless but the true fans were annoying. Okay, so take the band/artist with the harmless music and annoying fans, and apply the following screening technique Ask your potential friend to go to a concert with this band/artist. If the candidate accepts the invitation, then just tell them you were testing them and never talk to them again. If they think about it, but then decide that it isn't worth the time or money, then they have passed the test.

Screening Technique #3 - Think of the alcohol that you had your first negative drinking experience with. The one that even the thought or sight of it makes you throw up a little in your mouth. Mine would be Southern Comfort. That was difficult to write down. Okay - now that you've remembered that terrible experience, make a rule that you will never take on a friend that has this alcohol as their 'go-to' drink at a bar. Trust me, you'll be much better off in the long run.

Feel free to post comments with your own friend-screening criteria. Or you can disagree with mine. You won't change my mind on this (Kate has tried unsuccessfully for the last four years) but you can disagree if it makes you feel better.

Oh, and my sincere apologies go out to all of the pepperoni pizza-campaigning, Blink 182-listening, Southern Comfort-drinking people out there. You know who you are. It's not too late to change your ways.


bojengle said...

I don't see how vegetarianism goes with pizza at all. what would be a clincher pizza topping? I mean just knock it out of the park.

Nate Romance said...

Jengle - The vegetarian bit is admittedly weak. We started using Google Analytics on the blog yesterday and I noticed that our site traffic has been weak in the crunchy areas of the country (Colorado, California, Pacific Northwest). I thought that using the word 'Vegetarian' a couple of times might help drive some organic search traffic. Al Gore, Trader Joes, Hybrid, Hybrid, Soy. That should help.

Zach said...

#2 I think is fantastic. For my it's Dave Matthews. Unfortunately it rules out a lot of people sometimes, but that's just the way it goes.

R. J. Talyor said...

Two comments:

1. I have not ordered pepperoni pizza since dissecting a fetal pig in biology (7th grade?). The school cafeteria pepperoni smelled too much like my dissection project. Later in the semester, we dissected a squid--writing our names in its ink with the creature's spine as a pen. Afterwards, our teacher fried up calamari (not kidding) and the 7th-grade hallway smelled like Applebee's for a week.

2. I like to think I invented the feta cheese, bacon & artichoke heart pizza. Ordering this gourmet-sounding topping combination from Hot Box Pizza/Pizza Express is delicious (try it), but is something near the equivalent of ordering a Kobe beef flame-broiled Whopper at BK. That said, I've never had a good meal by ordering this same topping combination at an upscale pizza joint.

Pisces75 said...

SoCo is my evil Alcohol...never again.

Al Iverson said...

I like fancy pizza toppings, but I have to admit...I love a plain pepperoni pizza. Nothing tastes better.

I had some awful pizza experiences when I was a vegetarian. I still loved pizza and it was fine, overall. All veggies was good, or sometimes I got some fake meat on it -- one place in Minneapolis did it quite well.

But, I had a few friends, who were not vegetarians, who always wanted to go out for pizza. They always wanted half meat / half no meat. Invariably, the dividing line was inexact, and I ended up with an undesired hunk of ham. Every damn time.

And there was one person I knew who absolutely had to have ham on his half of pie. Like he would die, if goodness forbid, he had a pizza without meat for once.