Deciding what kind of pizza to get with friends is enough of a hassle, but when it arrives, a curious little power dynamic occurs. It lets you know who you can trust and who would kill and eat you on a deserted island. Better to find this out over pizza.
The announcement that pizza is being ordered seems to come from on high, and rapidly takes over the entire household—because a man can be killed and forgotten, but an idea lasts forever, especially when it's pizza. Suddenly, everyone starts acting like teenagers who just found a duffle bag of money in the woods. What should we do? What should we get?
Jeff doesn't like mushrooms and Caitlyn is gluten-free this week and Pete wants the pizzas to be sliced into squares instead of triangles. Pete’s a weirdo.
There should be an app for this, where everyone’s pizza preferences and dislikes are plugged in, and then a complicated algorithm determines what pizza should be ordered that caters to all finicky tastes. Anything to avoid those ridiculous pizza-topping United Nations sessions.
The arrival of the pizza is when you really learn who your friends are. The first slice grabbed, like the first brush stroke on a painting of pizza, seems to determine a linear, organic course for the rest of the slices to be taken. You're supposed to take one of the two slices to the left or right of the now empty triangle space.
But sometimes, people don't take one of those two open slices; instead, they cut the predetermined pizza line and grab a better-looking slice that hasn't been exposed yet. Are they assholes who would also cut in the line at the bank? Or is everyone else a sheep who too easily accepts their pizza lot in life? So many questions.
Despite all the elaborate pizza topping negotiations that began the evening, an issue nonetheless emerges: When you order two pizzas—which, regardless of the number of people present, is always the right move—there inevitably ends up being a good pizza and a bad pizza. This is the problem with pizza centrism: It futilely tries to please all parties and ultimately disappoints everyone. Who would have thought that the whole-wheat pizza with POGs and aluminum washers on it would remain uneaten?
Many simply avoid the B pie, but others take a slice from the bad one in an effort to share the group’s burden. It’s often the closest they'll ever come to an actual charitable donation. “You look weary, brother. Let me take that pizza load off your shoulders.”
Sometimes, when a father catches his son smoking, he makes him smoke the whole pack as punishment. This is what needs to happen with the bad pizza. Force the pickiest eater who caused this mess to eat the entire pizza by themselves, until they keel over and realize the error of their ways. Then make them pay for another pizza that people actually like. It's harsh, but fair.
As time passes on the pizza clock and slices disappear, few remain, until you're left with one last slice. The person who somehow remembers that Jeff had three slices and Pete had two is certainly annoying, but this is a misdemeanor when compared to the utter sociopath who grabs the last slice without hesitation.
He would rat to the feds to save himself and kill you with a jagged rock on an island. Remember that Titanic story about the guy who pretended to be a woman and snuck onto a lifeboat? He probably took the last slice of cruise ship pizza earlier in the evening.
We clearly need a new pizza system. When planning to order, elect a pizza leader to make executive topping decisions for the group. Have people fight for the last slice with a broken pool cue. And for God's sake, see if the pizza joint will make mini pies for each person instead of a big one. It may be the only way.
If we can't order and share a pizza properly among friends, what chance does the rest of civilization have? For we all live on a giant pizza called Earth (just go with this), and are simply looking for a nice slice with good toppings and no air bubbles.
Without pizza unification, all that will be left one day is an empty box with that tiny plastic table in the middle. They should really make those out of cheese or something.
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.