It was overall a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I never eat Frankie’s Pizza because it is awful. It has been awful for 50 years and anyone who tells you that’s not true just grew up in South Miami and doesn’t want to admit that their youth was spent eating subpar pizza.
But, every 4 years or so I give it another chance because deep down I want Frankie’s pizza to be good. It is an institution that I want to succeed.
But it is never good.
And it has never been good.
Their sauce is gross and their dough is spongy and I think it’s time we all just admit that it no longer meets the standards of modern pizza and we just eat it because it’s there and sometimes we’re hungry.
And yes, this review is an allegory about the election.
And no, I’m not sure if allegory is the right word.
So as I approached Frankie’s dingy little building there were two elderly men screaming at each other about socialism and telling each other to shut up over and over. I tried to make my way past them to order but they were so belligerent I couldn’t make my way through.
“Who are these men?” I asked a teenage employee smoking a black and mild on his break. “Oh, they’re just two old men who show up every couple of years and scream at each other like they fucking own the place,” he said before turning to his phone.
I asked the kid if I could order a pizza, to which he said “yeah, for sure, I’ll be back on the clock in 10 minutes.”
So I waited and watched the two men go at each other. Neither made much sense and both had difficulty getting their point across without screaming or stumbling over his own words. As they yelled about the direction of the country it was clear they didn’t care about what anyone wanted other than themselves. It was frustrating to hear, but after 10 minutes of back and forth about the police (they both basically love police) and the environment (they both basically don’t want to do anything to help it) and health care (they both basically don’t think health care should be given to everyone) and the monopolization of corporate power (they both basically love big corporations), I decided to push my way into the restaurant and order what I knew would be a very bad pizza pie.
Inside the teenager took my order but was texting with someone at the same time so I didn’t have confidence he got my order correct (it was a cheese pizza). But I am generally conflict-averse and afraid of teenagers so I said nothing and handed him my credit card. “Yeah, yeah, cool, it will be ready in 15 minutes, so just wait outside.”
Outside I listen to the old men fight again. One was fat and overly pampered and the other liver-spotted and frail. They yelled at each other about women’s rights and black’s rights and what the world would be like in 50 years and had opinions about everything that would impact everyone other than them. And they both believed each other wanted to take the country in the wrong direction but supported this belief in a very half-educated hyperbolic sort of way.
I thought it ironic that these two old men would dare to think they should still have a say in a world. How dare they? They were both in their 70’s…why not just take their remaining years and calm the fuck down. Why are they fighting so hard for things that won’t impact them when doing so means the very people who are impacted will not have a meaningful say? It’s selfish and I tried to interject several times, but they just ignored me and laughed about how I was a socialist. They both agreed that I was a socialist.
After several minutes the fat one started getting really cagey and low-key started defending Nazis for some reason. I felt I needed to interrupt at that point: “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” I finally screamed. The other old man looked stunned.
“How can you defend Nazis? They are Nazis? That should be enough for you to hate them!”
As I was really starting to get going I was interrupted by the kid who worked at Frankie’s who handed me my pizza as he walked outside to light another black-and-mild. As he blew smoke in the air and ran his fingers across his tapered hairline I realized I hated him and felt a strong desire to call him a socialist because the pizza he handed me had onions all over it. It was just cheese and raw onions. Who would order that? How could he think I or anyone else would want that? Was he fucking with me? I asked him to make me a new one, which he said he would but he just started another 15-minute break so it would be at least 45 until the pizza was ready. Fucking socialist. I decided to just accept the pizza.
As I turned back to the fat old man who was defending Nazis I noticed the other old man just standing there silently. “Well, what do you have to say for yourself? Do you like Nazis too?”
He took a moment and reflected…”No. I don’t like Nazis. They’re Nazis.”
For whatever reason what should have been his uncontroversial opinion that Nazis are bad made me feel comforted. I took a deep breath and I pulled out a slice of Frankie’s disgusting pizza with cheese and onions and a spongy undercooked crust and sauce that tastes like it was pickled in vinegar and reluctantly took a bite because I was exhausted and hungry and sick of fighting with someone who supports Nazis and just needed to eat something, goddammit. I gave that frail old man who doesn’t really represent me or want to fix any of the big problems I’m concerned about a nod as I left him to continue fighting with the fatter old man, because at least he doesn’t like Nazis so in this fight that means I’m on his side.
And as I walked back to my car to go home to watch the debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump I thought about how I would so much rather have gone to Big Cheese or Miami’s Best or Anthony’s or An Diamo’s or Harry’s or even fucking Pete Buttigieg Papa John’s, but that wasn’t a choice I had because I happened to be on Bird Road and needed to eat. And I knew that in four years I would likely be back at Frankie’s Pizza listening to two other old men fighting about issues that no longer impact them without any care for what I, or anyone my age, or frankly anyone who doesn’t look like them, really wants. And I’d have to eat another slice of awful cheese and onion pizza because I’ll be hungry again and need to eat and because despite a long history of disappointment Frankie’s is just not going anywhere.