Yes, hi there, I’m next... right here, number 84. I noticed your sign out front, the one about creating my own pasta—what it actually says is CREATE YOUR OWN PASTA—and I’d like to do that, please. So, what do I do, just tell you exactly what I’d like my pasta to be like? Yeah? Okay, then, here goes. But please bear with me, because I only really started thinking about it a couple of minutes ago, when I saw your sign, just before I came in here.
First things first: This pasta is going to need a name. I know that there are time-honored conventions of naming noodles based on length, width, diameter, and resemblance to household items and modes of transportation, but I’m going to bend the rules a bit and name my pasta after myself plus a suffix meaning large, so my pasta will be called “bill-oni.” It’s got a nice ring to it, even though my pasta won’t be round. That’s a joke. Get it? Yes, I see the line behind me.
My pasta will actually be square. Square and flat, in fact, about three inches on a side, and a quarter-inch thick. Like a ravioli, sure, but much bigger, and not filled with anything, and you get just one in a serving, although I suppose you could get a second one stacked on top of the first one. Also, it will be made of beef. But ground beef, nothing fancy. Yes, a square of cooked ground beef. No, it’s not a burger. It’s a billoni. It’s the pasta that I’m creating!
Well, that’s just plain not true. There’s a wide variety of base ingredients of different pastas. Wheat, sure, but also barley, buckwheat, rye, rice, and maize. Some Asian noodles are even made of mung beans. I’m not asking you to make my pasta out of mung beans! You probably don’t have mung beans! But I’m pretty sure you must have ground beef back there. Right? Is this a deli or what?
Okay, now the sauce. I’m not going to stray far from the basics here. The billoni sauce should be a simple red sauce, tomato based and sweet, almost tangy.... What? You’re ketchup.
And throw some grilled onions on there, too, on top of a piece of lettuce and some pickle slices. Hm? No. Why would I want a roll? Who puts pasta on a roll? Do I look completely uncivilized to you?
How much is that? $9.50?! How can that be? You guys have a Monday pasta special for $4.99... Oh, really? Okay, look, never mind. Let me start over. Totally from scratch. Take a cup of joy, add a tablespoon of nostalgia, and just a hint of the smell of my third grade teacher’s perfume...
Well, you guys need to change your sign, then. Because that’s baloney.
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.