My first job was as a server at Boston Market. One of my favorite regular customers was a man I thought of as Meatloaf Man. Really, this was not the most inventive name I could have come up with for him, but it suited him.
You see, once a week he came in for lunch and ordered a meatloaf meal with two sides: rice pilaf and creamed spinach. He also looked like the sort of guy who would order meatloaf. He was about 6’3″ and weighed at least 250 lbs. He had a ruddy complexion and thin, almost-black hair and big eyebrows. He would often wear a plaid flannel shirt under dirty overalls. This man was meatloafy through and through.
Then one day Boston Market stopped serving rice pilaf. Meatloaf Man came in and ordered his regular: meatloaf with rice pilaf and creamed spinach. I informed him, regretfully, that we didn’t serve rice pilaf anymore. He looked heartbroken. He took a step back, looked at the menu, and stewed a while. I think I asked if he would like mashed potatoes with brown gravy instead, and he said no.
Finally he decided on a sides meal: chicken salad and two other sides. No meatloaf.
He didn’t come in as often after that.
I thought of Meatloaf Man today when, for the fifteenth time in the last eight months or so, Jon Boy and I got a Five Buck pizza: medium, half with pepperoni, ham, and sausage, and half with ham and pineapple. It’s our regular. And I wondered whether the Five Buck Pizza employees have a nickname for us.
I can’t think of anything quite as catchy as Meatloaf Man, but then, I’ve already proven myself to be less than inventive.