All hail the Pizza Makers, working in their surgically sterilized pizza kitchens

Thousands of people are trusting the Pizza Men of this country with their lives right now. They are on the front lines, like nurses, doctors and Walmart employees.

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“Like a surgeon, I’m guessing my pizza man wears a mask, a gown, and carefully washes his arms from the elbow down to the tips of his fingers, holding them upright until he actually approaches the flour table,” writes Phil Kadner.

AP

It is time someone paid tribute to that angel of mercy, the Pizza Man.

I am talking about the fellow who is supplying us with handmade pizzas in this time of The Plague.

For more than a month I remained in self-quarantine in my house eating nothing but healthy food, hoping for the Great Pritzker to tell us we could leave our homes, sit at our favorite restaurant tables and stuff our faces without fear.

But before the all-clear could come, I gave in.

Putting my life and that of my wife in the hands of the Pizza Man, I ordered out.

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I could envision the woman at the other end of the telephone line, hands covered by plastic gloves, writing my order on a slip of paper that she would place on a conveyor belt, where it would be carried through a tiny sliding glass door into the pizza room, a surgically sterile place that is entirely white.

Mind you, my pizza place is not a member of any chain, but a small storefront. I have never seen such a room as I described above. And I have never actually seen the fellow who makes the pizzas in the bowels of the building.

But now, in this time of the virus, I think about him more than ever before.

Like a surgeon, I’m guessing he wears a mask, a gown, and carefully washes his arms from the elbow down to the tips of his fingers, holding them upright until he actually approaches the flour table.

He is not some 16-year-old high school kid who picks his nose, like my friends in high school who worked at the neighborhood pizza joint, but a man with some life experience.Perhaps a college graduate, with diplomas from a master chef’s school and Harvard Medical, perhaps a theological degree as well,posted on the pizza kitchen walls.

Thousands of people are trusting the Pizza Men of this country with their lives right now. They are on the front lines, like nurses, doctors and Walmart employees.

They are essential members of the American work force, not only providing nutrition, but a much-needed sense of normalcy.

There was a time, I confess, when my thoughts of pizza makers were impure. By that, I mean, I believed they sometimes failed to wash their hands after going to the washroom or blowing their nose.

But that has changed.

I believe in the Pizza Man today because, well, I have to if I want to eat my favorite pizza.

This is a person not only of impeccable personal integrity, but terrific self-control.

If his cell phone rings and he sees it is his girlfriend or pregnant wife calling, he does not pick it up. He does not play video games while he is waiting for the pizzas to bake in the ovens.

Like the great surgeons, he is laser-focused on the task at hand.

In fact, I would like to believe he is even more responsible. Unlike some doctors, he will not allow some inexperienced intern to operate on my pizza.

Just as we trust complete strangers with our lives every time we cross a busy street or get into a car, we must now trust the fellow who makes our pizzas.

Let others marvel at the feats of the high-flying Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, my heroes remain the pizza princes who toss their dough high in the air, spin it, and never let it touch the ground, knowing the lives of children, grandmothers, fathers and mothers rest in their hands.

I am confident my Pizza Man understands this heavy burden and accepts it. I hope he has enough PPE to last the rest of the year.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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