The figures are in. Last year, 2300 Americans went to emergency rooms all across the land to be treated for pizza-related injuries—2300. Let that sink in for a while. Pizza-related injuries… Not gunshot wounds, not boating accidents, not skydiving incidents… Pizza!
I must say I’ve had a number of moments over my sixty-eight years in which I’ve prematurely bitten into a hot piece of that delectable goo we call pizza pie. The roof of my mouth was scalded, and some skin would peel off, but I never made a trip to the ER. Regardless of my pain, I persevered each time. I ate my pie despite my discomfort, and I have the belly to prove it. I usually allowed it to cool after my initial burn, but not always. If you’re bound and determined to kill yourself with pizza, there’s no sense in merely going halfway.
The American habit we call pizza night is obviously fraught with danger. According to scientific studies, the top three pizza related injuries were 1) lacerations from pizza cutters, 2) burns from pizza pans and ovens, and 3) falling while carrying a pizza. It appears that people preparing and cooking their own version of the scrumptious comfort food indirectly cause many of these injuries. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t try this in your own home?” A retail pizza parlor will bake, cut, and deliver the radial fare right to front your door. Apparently, most of these injuries could be avoided if we weren’t so cheap. A generous tip to your friendly, neighborhood delivery guy is much less expensive than a trip to your less friendly emergency room (which in most cases is beyond your neighborhood).
Still, there are also hidden dangers in procuring retail pizza. Hungry patrons who tripped in pizza parlors incurred some of the reported mishaps. In our haste to transport these cheesy morsels into our gaping mouths, we seem to lose all caution.
Then there are accidents that happen regardless of where or how the pizza was obtained. For instance, one guy fell out of bed while attempting to reach for a slice that was perched on his nightstand. Eating pizza in bed late at night is faux pas enough. Failing to get out of bed to reach for it is beyond the pale. Some injuries are well deserved.
At this point, some of you may be asking the age-old question, “What would Jesus do?” Well, for starters, I’m pretty sure Jesus never even saw a pizza pie. That being said, we would have to scour the Scriptures with a fine-toothed comb to arrive at a reasonable answer to that one. The word, “pie,” is not to be found in either Testament. Still, some Biblical wisdom might be deduced for our consumption (see what I did there?).
Try this one on for size. “Go, eat your [pizza] with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]