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Olives Or Mushrooms?

Aharon Granevich-Granot

Boro Park residents did a double-take when they discovered Aharon Granevich-Granot in a waiter’s uniform at a local pizzeria. Was Mishpacha being downsized? Did he need more cash to marry off his kids? Or maybe, after being fired three times in one day, from Mendelsohn’s Pizza, Bagels n’ Greens, and Goldberg’s Supermarket, he should just stick to writing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

“It can’t be … No way! What, they really fired you from Mishpacha? And you started working here at the pizza shop?” The three Yidden surrounding me couldn’t believe their eyes. “What happened?” they asked pityingly.

“Downsizing,” I answered tersely, heaving a heavy sigh, as I concentrated on wiping down the tables. “Salary cuts. It’s not that I won’t be writing anything at all anymore, but … it’s not what it was. So … you want olives or mushrooms on your pizzas?”

They were upset. They were used to reading my articles in our English weekly. They were used to my photo peeking out at them from all sorts of weird locales. They never dreamed I’d be serving them at Mendelsohn’s Pizza on Eighteenth Avenue in Boro Park.

“You’re, like … serious?” they asked again.                     

“With mushrooms or olives? I’ll serve you the pizza, and continue the story.”

Two of them couldn’t make up their mind.

“With mushrooms is very good,” I recommended as if I were the chef, conjuring up my nicest smile. I hurried to the oven to fill their order, though they seemed more curious to hear my story than to eat the pizza. I took the hot pizza from the oven, sliding it onto the tray just the way the boss had taught me when he hired me this morning, and submissively served each one his portion.

“So, like … what happened?” they asked.

“The competition killed us off,” I told them, my throat choked with tears. “Competition in Eretz Yisrael and in chutz l’Aretz, too. It’s hard. The advertising level went down. One day, they called me in and told me that I’d have to find some additional parnassah.”


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