The legend is true: I was our first pizza delivery man
In the early ’90s, you could always spot the Jefferson-Scranton kids within about 10 minutes of rolling into a city like Chicago or St. Louis on a band trip.
We’d get to the hotel and our only concern would be, “Is it too late to have a pizza delivered?”
OK, OK — a few probably hoped to make a beeline for the indoor pool.
But the chubs among us went straight to the Yellow Pages for the number to Domino’s.
The real trick was trying to figure out which suburb we were in.
“Man,” we’d marvel, “can you imagine living in a place like this?
“You call up, and THEY BRING PIZZA RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR.”
Looking back, it’s a good thing neither I or my two friends ever managed to come across Aladdin’s lamp circa 1992.
We surely would have squandered our wishes on pizza delivery in Jefferson, a McDonald’s in Jefferson and a mall in Jefferson.
And then we would have begged the genie for a fourth wish — girlfriends.
So much has changed since then.
I recently moved back after 14 years in Ohio to the Jefferson of my dreams.
Everywhere I look, a Pizza Ranch car is taking a pizza to some lucky boy or girl.
RIGHT TO THEIR DOOR.
My wife and I pulled into Casey’s and she observed, “Did you know that even Casey’s delivers pizza now?”
But then it hit me. I’m responsible for all of this.
I mean, to a certain small degree.
I puffed up, turned to my wife and remarked, “If you think about it, I’m kinda like the Jackie Robinson of Jefferson.”
“No,” she replied. “Just no.”
Without saying another word, she opened the car door to get out.
“OK, maybe not Jackie Robinson. That’s probably a bit lofty,” I blurted. “But, Neil Armstrong then, for sure, totally.
“I mean, honey, I was the FIRST.”
Yes, folks, the handsome new editor of The Jefferson Herald (that would be me) was once Jefferson, Iowa’s first* pizza delivery man.
*I’m pretty sure
OK, there’s always a chance someone else came before, but I’m confident in at least calling myself the first pizza delivery man in modern Jefferson history.
All of today’s drivers can trace their lineage directly to me.
And to Doug Meinecke, who might well be considered the Branch Rickey of Jefferson pizza delivery.
It was Doug who one Saturday morning announced at a meeting of his teenage Breadeaux Pizza employees — this was maybe ’94 — that he was going to begin offering pizza delivery.
Wow. Just wow.
This was like a kid, circa 1968, hearing his dad say, “Kids, we’re going to go get a color TV.”
But who among us would be the driver?
I half-jokingly volunteered.
My co-workers readily agreed.
I still suspect they were all just tired of working with me.
I mean, what was the fastest possible way to get rid of Andrew McGinn and his endless attempts at “humor”? Make him drive around town all night.
Doug bought a red Geo Metro for Breadeaux and off I went.
To this day, I don’t know why that Geo Metro isn’t on display at the Greene County Historical Society Museum, like the Apollo 11 capsule.
I even got to wear a special jacket — this red satin jacket that appeared to have been intended for a bowling league around 1983.
The current whereabouts of the jacket remain unknown, but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it was donated to the Smithsonian.
In hindsight, though, I was an awful pizza delivery man.
I said I was the first — I didn’t say I was good.
To put it bluntly, I’m an idiot.
More like an idiot savant, really.
I can rattle off the name of every member of, say, Jethro Tull between 1968 and 1975, but hand me a $20 bill and ask for change and watch me squirm.
Even at the age of 37, I still can’t make change.
So now imagine handing a $50 bill to some idiot 17-year-old in a red satin bowling jacket who was always horrible at math for a $19.37 pizza order.
I’m almost certain I owe Doug Meinecke about $170 because of my inability to make change.
I’m clearly not making any improvements, either.
If I’m all alone in our five-person office at the Bee & Herald and someone walks in to pay a bill, I mutter a silent prayer that they’re paying by check.
Maybe I need to find a new satin bowling jacket.
Contact Andrew McGinn at email@example.com.