Pizza has recently edged out chocolate as America’s favorite food. No real surprise given pizza’s place in the fabric of our culture. Comedy Central’s John Stewart continually battled with Chicago over whether New York’s pizza is best. And New York mayor Bill DiBlasio has received more criticism for eating pizza with a fork than for delays in snow removal. Most all of us maintain a fierce loyalty to our favorite pizza, a devotion that can last for a lifetime and survive long after we’ve departed the neighborhood. (For the record, the best pizza in the world comes from Campiti’s on Potomac Avenue in Dormont, Pa.)
To add humor and texture to their writing, many times authors will include an off-the-wall secondary character to the story. But the character can’t be so weird as to be completely unbelievable. For example, what if we came up with a man who never ate anything but pizza for 25 years? Probably too over the top, right? Wrongo.
Meet a real guy named Dan, 38, who has eaten nothing but pizza for the past 25 years. Really.
You’d think Dan would be one of those morbidly obese folks we see shown on TV by the health police. You know, the stories that just show a person’s butt and not their face. (I always picture a man sitting in his lounger, watching TV and shouting, “Hey, Mabel, I just saw your ass on TV!” ) But Dan, a woodworker, is actually slim, energetic and has a youthful and stylish appearance. Dan would like to order something other than pizza and often has every intention of doing so, but when the time comes and he’s asked for his order he’s never been able to make his lips say anything but, “pizza.”
Socially handicapped by this obsession, Dan has resorted to therapy. His therapist uncovered a few key incidents in his childhood that unlocks hints of Dan’s pizza pathology. A babysitter fed him nothing but Brunswick stew every day when he was 5. Later, his sister fed him poisonous mushrooms.
Dan remembered, “They fed me Coca-Cola and Karo syrup until I vomited, and then I kept vomiting uncontrollably the entire night.” Despite, repeated efforts, the therapist still hasn’t been able to get Dan off of his 25-year pizza streak.
So, the question, as they say, is begged. If an author included Dan as a character in a work of fiction, would the reader be turned off, finding the writer’s story too unbelievable?