Several years ago, in the early days of The Executive Committee, one of my underlings (I think it was Trent) referred to me as — and I quote — a “Mean Old Dictator.”
Now a lesser man would’ve had his feelings hurt. A lesser man would’ve responded with a series of blistering tweets — had twitter existed back then. A lesser man would’ve pouted. A lesser man would’ve struck out a horrible vengeance on the person who wronged him so.
But I am not that man. Instead I chose to own the title. Maybe even revel in it. And so I became the Mean Ol’ Dictator — or MOD — of The Executive Committee.
Now if you’ve been following this blog for a while you know that one of my favorite Christmas traditions is the Executive Committee Holiday Dinner. And if you’ve been around for a while you also know that one of the greatest challenges of setting up the ECHD is figuring out where we’re going to eat.
Well a few months back I’m driving through town and I notice a new restaurant is opening: MOD Pizza. I immediately went home and called an emergency meeting.
“Which one of you sold my naming rights to a pizza chain?”
Now a lesser man would’ve been upset by this blatant act of identity theft. A lesser man would’ve brought in the lawyers and sued for copyright infringement or trademark violations.
But I am not that man. Instead, I said, “let’s have this year’s holiday dinner at MOD Pizza!” Everyone agreed. Maybe I’ll get a free pizza out of the deal once the owners find out who I am.
And so it was that Wednesday night shortly before 7 p.m. I arrived at MOD Pizza. I decided to get there first (I knew being a few minutes early would ensure that I would be first) to scope out the place as I’d never been there before and try to figure out seating arrangements. If you’ve been around a while you know that the second greatest challenge of setting up the ECHD is attendance. There are currently 12 members of the EC. Try getting 12 people to show up at the same place at the same time — especially over the holidays. Some years we do pretty good. One year it was me, Trent and Fagan.
First to arrive was our newest member, Cindy B. I don’t know why we waited so long to put Cindy in the group — nobody, and I mean nobody, loves this crazy band of Former Journal Employees like Cindy. Everyone else showed up in fairly decent time. And I do mean everyone. Well, almost everyone. Spaulding (Motto: If I want to spend time with you, I’ll make time) was as usual a no-show, and once again Pokin didn’t make it in from Springfield. To be fair, Springfield is a 4-hour drive, but then Fagan lives in North Carolina and he’s never missed.
There was one, and only one, long table in the room. There were 3 people sitting in it when I showed up. I started to hover and they left just as my crew started arriving in full. I guess it’s a good thing they’re always late. With spouses and children in tow we had no trouble filling the table.
MOD Pizza has a rather interesting thing going. It’s like a Subway, but for pizza. They specialize in small, personal pizzas so you don’t have to deal with the hassles of sharing. They throw all the ingredients on the shell as you call them out, then you pay and wait for your pie to come out of the oven. Pretty efficient operation.They play music from the MOD era (See: The Who: Quadrophenia) which I greatly enjoyed.
The rest of the evening went like pretty much every ECHD since the dawn of time. There was much talking and laughing and eating and drinking. I received a lovely set of tin letters that spelled out my name featuring different Marvel and DC superheroes from Melfy and a “Grow Your Own Dinosaur” kit from Erica. I can’t wait to grow my own dinosaur but I figure I’d better put it off until at least Spring. Not enough room in the house to keep him.
MOD Pizza closes promptly at 9 p.m. We left around 9:30. They were very gracious about it. To our faces, anyway.