I’m a little different than the average person.
See, I have a pizza for a head.
Most “normal” heads have hair and skin. Well, my head is literally a pizza pie. A round, flat mashup of cheese, dough, and tomato sauce.
I do have a brain, eyes, ears, a nose, and a mouth. They’re just all housed in the pizza pie sitting atop my neck.
Besides that, I’m just like anyone else.
I’ve got human arms, legs, heart, bones, stomach, poop- and pee-makers, etc.
I stub my toe just like the rest of you. I, too, hate Mondays. I have a driver’s license and my own car. I bought a condo with a great mortgage, thanks to my stellar credit history. I just got promoted to VP in my company.
And most importantly, I have the best family and friends a person — pizza-headed or not — could ever ask for.
You’d think having a pizza for a head would be amazing… Well, yes and no.
“You must be SO popular,” you might be thinking. “Your life must be so awesome!” you might assume.
And I don’t blame you for thinking that: Of all the foods to have as a head, pizza is pretty much the coolest. Who doesn’t love pizza, right?
But that’s for pizza on a plate. To be eaten. As food.
When it’s something you have to live with every day — a major part of your body you see every day in the mirror, a constant reminder that you’re different — it gets more complicated.
I was born this way.
The doctors never figured out how it happened. They told my mom and dad early on — during an ultrasound — that their boy would have a literal pizza for a head. Then they asked if my parents wanted to continue with the pregnancy.
Well, spoiler alert: A few months later, I was born.
The doctor spanked me on the butt, I let out a cry from my pizza-face, and the nurse handed me to my mom and dad. They said I, their baby covered in birth slime and pizza sauce, was their little miracle. (My parents love telling this story at family reunions.)
Officially, the doctors called it a birth defect. But growing up, my parents always told me it’s not a defect, it’s a gift.
My Earliest Memory
One of my earliest memories was crying in my grandmother’s arms.
I’d been on the playground, and the other kids started calling me names: Stupid stuff like Pizza Head, Pizza Face, and Pizza Pizza (in the voice of the Little Cesar’s mascot). One kid even tried to take a bite out of me.
I remember grandma gently patting me on my crust and cradling me. I remember her whispering, “Oh poor baby, life is going to be harder for you than everyone else. But you’re tougher than everyone else.”
(Side note: About that kid that tried to eat me. Ironically, he and I would become really great friends. We still are, to this day. If I ever get married, he’ll be my first pick for best man.)
Growing up may have been harder, but I adapted.
I’m grateful for my support system. My family and friends. With their help, I became more comfortable in my own skin and dough. I accepted my pizza head. I even started celebrating it: Before leaving the house, I’d accessorize with some toppings like mushrooms or pepperoni to reflect my personality.
Plus, as I grew older, people got used to it. They thought it was cool. And I developed an epic list of comebacks for anyone who gave me crap about it.
I set out to live as “normally” as possible.
I was voted prom king. I played goalie on the high school soccer team. I went to SAT classes. I got grounded by my parents, just like any other kid. I got my driver’s permit. I got into college. I had an 18th birthday party where we had, yes, pizza from the best place in Chicago, Lou Malnati’s.
You can’t control what life throws at you. But you can control how you’re going to respond to it. And I was going to make the best of it.
Fast forward to today.
For the most part, life is good.
Like today, I got out of work at 5:30pm, cooked some dinner for me and my girlfriend, and took a relaxing yoga class (unheated of course, or else my face-cheese melts everywhere).
Sure, I have my gripes just like anyone else. For instance, I want to quit Facebook, but it’s connected to so much stuff like Spotify, you know?
And of course, I still feel insecure. I wonder if my girlfriend will dump me for a guy with a “normal” face and head that doesn’t drip marinara sauce all over her nice Banana Republic sweaters. I still get stares. I still get the occasional person trying to take a bite out of me. (It’s usually a drunk Cubs fan.)
But overall, I’m content. My head is a food that brings so much joy to people. What more can I ask for?