GCSPrank Is Here

For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Monday, May 02, 2005


A Greek restaurant specializing in pizza. A college hangout that professors and university muckety-mucks frequented. The first place to close when the second summer session ended. A place where food came first, service came second and friendship was always in the mix.

Dino’s was usually dark. A long rectangle, you walked past the main counter/kitchen area and headed for a booth somewhere in the back. The booths, lined in vinyl and with a sticky slickness that implied use and cleanliness, were not designed for efficient use of space. They were laid out because they were there.

You know what I mean.

The house specialties were gyros, strips of roast lamb wrapped in doughy pita and pizzas. The gyros were always a treat, though the variety was ostensibly less than what you’d find in the Greek isles. It didn’t matter: none of us was going there for comparisons.

The pizzas displayed more flair and were cut Chicago-style, in squares. I once asked for my pizza to be cut in wedges and I’m still waiting for an answer…unless you count square-cut pieces as a reply. You could order sandwiches, but even though I remember eating a few, I can’t recall what they were. I may have had a hamburger there once, but that memory smacks of revisionism: either I ate one and that shows I could waste time and money on a bad decision, (it may have been a good hamburger, but what’s the point of ordering it there?) or I didn’t have one and I’m just trying to spice up my recollection needlessly.

I spoke with the owner almost every time I went in, usually when hanging out with Bill, Don or both. I guess his name was Dino, though it’s more likely he was just called “Dino.” In any case, we spoke often. Don’t ask what about: I don’t remember. Maybe about Greece or Italy or football or finals or vacations or the number of angels that should dance on a pinhead. It didn’t matter: we spoke as part of the ritual of our visits.

I never met anybody new at Dino’s. That was me being me. I never partied there. In over three years of visiting the place, nothing remarkable ever happened that I can comment on. (Except that I once got skunked by a pinball machine: three balls, three instant wipeouts.)

So why recall Dino’s? Because it fulfilled my expectations every time. It asked nothing more from me than my presence and I requested of it good food and a comfortable time for myself. We each kept our end of the bargain, through every one of many visits. It was a relationship built on few demands and the trust that they would be met faithfully.

You could do a lot worse. Quite often, in fact.


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