AL’S PIZZA WAGON

After college, I spent a year working at a pizza place near campus. I still saw lots of college friends — which was nice. But I was filling their deep-dish needs instead of hanging out — which was awkward.

The conversations in the kitchen were less than sparkling.

We talked a lot about pizza: The time our delivery guy backed over an order but still delivered it, tire tracks and all; or the time someone called to complain that her pizza was covered with staples.

I worked with one guy who looked like Beck. Our conversations occasionally veered away from pizza.

I might mention a comedian I’d seen on TV. If he’d heard of the comedian, and liked him, he’d express his admiration by saying, “That guy oughta be shot. He oughta be shot!” And, if he disliked the comedian: “That guy oughta be shot. He oughta be shot!”

Although his inflection never varied, I always knew exactly who he liked and who he didn’t. He was a masterful communicator.

You think I’m kidding.

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