Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and "Time Is Irreverent."

Greetings from beerless New Jersey

Greetings from New Jersey! Tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m., I have a show at Rowan College at Gloucester County. This will be my fourth time speaking at this college, which is an all-time record for me. I really enjoy these shows. The staff at Rowan are among the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and, of course, they have the terrific taste to book me again and again.
 
Speaking of taste, my one bitch about New Jersey (other than the traffic) is that I have never been able to find a local restaurant that serves pizza and beer. Sure, I could go to Uno’s or some other national chain, but yuck! After spending a day on airplanes and in airports, I actually wanted the beer more than the pizza.
 
Once I checked into my hotel room, I went out in search of what should be the most basic food combination known to man. After forty minutes of driving and finding plenty of beerless pizza joints, I finally found what appeared to be a promising restaurant.
 
I sat down to order and was promptly asked if I brought my own wine. Wine? Who drinks wine with pizza? And no, I generally go to restaurants to have them bring me food and drink, not just to rent their table.
 
Knowing it was hopeless, I ordered a pizza with extra mushrooms and a Diet Coke. Well, at least the waitress got the Coke correct. The pizza came with pepperoni instead of mushrooms. But hey, she offered to bring me some mushrooms on the side. Really! That’s like ordering a cake, but the chef forgot to add flour. “But don’t worry! We’ll bring you the flour on the side.”
 
I suppose I could have sent the pizza back, but then there’s the whole wasting of food and guilt thing that comes with that. I didn’t want guilt on the side any more than I wanted mushrooms on the side.
 
The pizza was horrible—but I did burn the roof of my mouth, so there’s that.
 
I’m now back in my hotel room drinking another Coke—this time with a helping of rum on the side.

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