Mickey Kovalick takes an order.

“Number 93, For Six?”

It takes a mere nanosecond to convince yourself that it’s a good idea.

As quickly as the mission is mentally established, you’re already dialing the number. Speak clearly, loudly, and repeat the number aloud after it’s issued.

May I have 4 extra cheese, please? #47? Thank you.”

The deed has been done. It doesn’t matter how you got to this point, but it sure matters how you navigate the experience. There is too much culinary joy in the near future for you to have any negative thoughts or skip any important steps that might affect your joy.

As an expert, you know that you won’t plan to arrive for another 20 minutes (I choose to only go after 9 p.m.). You might drive around and listen to music while the excitement starts to build.  Once you arrive, you clearly articulate your number in a rather smug manner, as you exude the confidence of someone with the focus and vision to have actually called your order in advance. Will it be one of those nights when the super efficient DiCarlo’s drones immediately box your order, or will it be one of those nights when #6, 19, and 46 all come in seconds after you to claim what is rightfully theirs, as you watch all of the fresh trays be broken down into pieces, wondering if there will be enough to complete your order, as you mentally break down? You do the smart thing–you take a breath, clear your mind, pay your cash, get your 75 cent Mountain Dew, and grab a clump of napkins, then monitor the variety of processes on the table. Scooping up excess sauce and returning it to the pan, checking the condition of the crust by using the big fork and spinning the pan, or cutting the tray using a surprisingly sharp knife into 28 wonderful squares. The process that you appreciate the most is the final one: the regal boxing of your order.

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The staff at Elm Grove DiCarlo’s.

If you eat Elm Grove DiCarlo’s three times per week like me, you usually get an extra slice. Your extra cheese is spread like a comforting blanket of dairy. Your pepperoni is distributed at two slices per square. Never more, never less. Your order is called, you receive your box, and now things begin to get good. As you walk out of the building, you fight off the overwhelming urge to smile, trying to walk slowly and not make eye contact with anybody. As you exit the building, you instinctively take the lid off of the box to slow down the cheese melting process. You have, of course, left your car unlocked to prevent a potential box drop (traumatic) while searching for keys. You get in the car, turn on music, open your Mountain Dew, spread out your napkins, and start to black out. By the time you have remembered that you need a three-second chug of Mountain Dew and a two-napkin wipe, you’re on your third piece.

Time to drive home and eat one on the way home. You offer your wife the last piece when you get home, and it makes her extremely happy as she acts like she’s not sure if she really wants it. As you fall into an inevitable guilt-ridden, calorie-filled mini coma, you reflect on yet another enlightening DiCarlo’s experience.