Friday, January 8, 2010
The Day My Hand Almost Got Turned Into Pulp, and How This Influenced My Opinions on Pizza
When I was a teenager (a time period that has shifted in classification from recent past to quaint, nausea-inducing memory), I was involved in quite a string of malicious acts. Some were perpetrated by me, others against me. There's a reason, for example, that I don't particularly care for situations in which people sit directly behind me...I'm no longer actively nervous during these situations, but there is always a shred of paranoia in my mind. Some of these incidents taught me valuable lessons about my fellow man. Other just reinforced certain anxieties I had.
One such incident occurred on what I remember as a warm spring day. I was washing the dishes, as was my daily duty at the time, when my father sidled up beside me with an odd request. Before I go any further, you should know that I am no stranger to the machinations of the drunken mind (for example, I am two glasses of scotch in right now), but there are some thoughts/behaviors that even my mild psychosis cannot comprehend. Malcolm Gladwell might call these thoughts/behaviors "outliers;" I don't know, because I haven't so much read his books as I've read Amazon.com reviews of his books. In any case, to this day I do not understand the rationale behind this request, although I must say I take some comfort in that fact.
Anyway, while I was washing the aforementioned dishes, my father said, "Here, put your hand in the garbage disposal."
I admit, I was not entirely prepared to even ponder this spontaneous endeavor, let alone take part in it. I believe my response was something along the lines of, "Buh?"
"No, come on. Put your hand down there," my father said, gesturing at the black flaps of rubber that covered the disposal's gaping maw. "I want to see something."
"I don't want to," I said. Not a great comeback, I'll admit, but very to the point.
"No, no. Put it down there," he said. "I want to see how much you trust me."
This was quickly veering into horror movie territory. Not one to tempt fate, at least not to such an obscene degree, I declined.
My father laid his hand across the switch that operated the garbage disposal. Mind you, this was not the sort of wall switch that requires a significant amount of force to activate. This was basically a touch switch, the sort that can be activated by little more than a light caress. My father's hand was actually on the switch. Any amount of force would have caused the blades in the disposal to go a-grindin'. Which I'm sure would have been great for them, but not so much for my hand.
"Put your hand in," my father demanded. "Don't you trust me?"
The short answer would have been "no." Instead, I said, "Well, actually, I don't think I trust anyone enough to do that. What if you lost your balance? What if you got startled or something?"
"I won't," said my father. "Put your hand down there and I'll show you."
Long story short(-er), I refused. Repeatedly. Which led to me getting yelled at and sent to my room for, I don't know, insubordination or something. Angry as I was at the time, the fact that I came out of the incident with all my limbs intact will be recorded in the annals of history as a victory.
You could say I have trust issues.
When I see the new commercials for Domino's Pizza, these trust issues come out like that ugly rash I got up and down my arms after taking down a twelve foot-tall artificial Christmas tree last week. Sure, there are all sorts of characters telling me that, hey, they finally got the message that their pizza sucks, and dammit, they're finally doing something about it. Their sauce no longer tastes like ketchup, they say, and they guarantee your money back if you don't like their new, vastly improved pies. Now, this all sounds just dandy, but I went to college. I remember full well those awful Domino's pizzas we consumed back then due to the fact that our inebriation demanded to be fed, and no one else would deliver on campus. I would really like to believe that Domino's really has changed, and that their new pizzas are both cost-effective and delicious. But I simply cannot. All I see is another garbage disposal in a patriotically colored cardboard box, my old man grinning maniacally at the shit switch.