By Jimmer, Prisoner of War in America
Once upon a time, near the turning of the millennium, pizza pie was at last declared illegal. The upstanding and all-wise lawmakers of a once free and still great nation realized that they had stumbled upon the perfect smoke screen to distract the population from the many pressing problems of our modern society. In the smoky backrooms and watering holes of the Capitol the "War on Pizza" was born. The government had increasingly been taking it upon themselves to control what the people say and eat through ever more intrusive rules and regulations. What had previously been the domain of doctors and preachers and ultimately the individual, became the business of government. A once brave and freedom-loving people ceded their right to choose and their personal liberties to the moralistic and ever-protective "Big Brother."
Though 40 million citizens were known to have tasted pizza, the general feeling in the Capitol was "Let's win this war." As is true for almost any substance, pizza can be abused by addictive eaters who just can't seem to get enough and doctors have uncovered long term health risks from its many rich ingredients. Still many pizza lovers felt that it was their right to put anything in their bodies long as they don't step over the line and start robbing and killing for more pizza.
As the government campaign against pizza gathered steam their propaganda machine began belching overtime. Hand-picked "experts" pointed out the many dangers associated with pizza use. Pizza abuse, they declared, led to higher cholesterol counts, increased incidence of obesity and created a depraved craving for more and more pizza. There were government sponsored studies citing health risks such as mercury tainted anchovies, carcinogenic salamis, cheese-induced mad cow disease, and psychedelic mushrooms finding their way onto more and more pizzas. These case studies proved that pot smoking, with its attendant "munchies", was a "gateway" with direct links to pizza over-indulgence resulting in indigestion and oft-times incapacitation. Several deaths were attributed to choking while inhaling pizza while no one has ever died from the herb. Naturally the authorities chose to totally gloss over the Twinkies that caused the murders of a big city mayor and his gay councilman. Eventually the public was convinced that pizza was the source of all their problems and they were grateful to their Church-State for doing their thinking and choosing for them.
Over the years of this great battle successive presidents appointed their successive "Pizza Czars." As each czar failed at his impossible task he was replaced by a progressively more appropriate choice. In order, the czars' previous areas of expertise were teacher, doctor, hot air salesman, and police chief, until they finally arrived at the proper choice - an army general. Ironically, the current pizza czar has been heard to declare that he's "not the country's dietitian", or was that nanny? And in case you're wondering, "hot air" refers to William Bennett who is currently raking in a lot of dough telling people how they ought to live. We don't know what he does at night but we pray that he has kicked that 4 packs of Pall Malls and a gallon of coffee a day habit that plagued him during his miserable reign as drug czar. Don't go away! This tale just gets stranger.
The War on Pizza now had a life of its own. Politician's careers were launched and kept afloat by their "get tough on pizza" agendas. Myriad law enforcement agencies, existing solely to combat pizza, vied for the unlimited funding available. Clinics, foundations, "specialists," lawyers and especially the ever expanding prison industry were all fattening up on Pizza Hysteria. Average "Joes" and otherwise law-abiding folks from all walks of life continued to opt for pizza even though it was prohibited. Since the beginning of time humankind has sought to enhance their mundane beans and rice lives with the occasional escape through pizza. As is usually the case, some folks overdo it but most simply enjoy a slice or two in the evening and maybe one at lunch. They usually recognize the warning signs of dependency such as when they find themselves downing cold pizza for breakfast morning after morning. The vast majority of pizza eaters function well in society and pizza remains a part of the not-so-wholesome national diet which also includes alcohol, caffeine, sugar, nicotine, and television.
Pizza just wouldn't go away! Now that it was outlawed there were big bucks to be made. Everyone knew that the ingredients in pizza were inexpensive and in most cases an entrepreneur could make it or even grow it at home. Yet due to prohibition, as is always the case, pizza had become worth more than gold. The inner-city's unemployed were presented with the option of flipping burgers at the golden arches for 4 bucks an hour or dealing pizza by the slice on the corner for a $1000 bucks a day. Though the pizza barons were rolling in dough, murder and mayhem devastated the neighborhoods as the various gangs battled for a bigger piece of the pie. The pizza dough was so good that as soon as one corner salesman was carted off by the police a dozen more were lining up to take over his franchise. The style of pizza available to the minorities and inner city dwellers was composed of the exact same ingredients as the pizza consumed by the white folks in the suburbs yet when trial and sentencing time came around, one slice of crack pizza was deemed to be equal to one hundred slices of powdered pizza. Rampant rumors that the C.I.A. had introduced massive quantities of low priced snow pizza into the ghettos were routinely denied and brushed aside like old crusts.
The noble politicians were slobbering over the pizza problem in the same way they had traditionally slobbered over money. In a bidding war, ever harsher laws and penalties were enacted as Constitutional rights were trashed and personal liberties vanished one by one. For a chunk of crack pizza the size of your thumb, the amount a voracious consumer devours in a couple of seconds, a mandatory five year sentence was decreed. Being involved with 100 herbal pizzas was also five years in the Federal Pen. Grow 1000 green pizzas and you get ten years, no breaks, no early release, even if you had never been in trouble before and no violence was involved. Conspiracy laws, secret testimony from sleazy and unreliable informants, entrapment schemes, draconian sentencing guidelines, and forfeiture scams gave unsporting advantages to the so-called Justice Department resulting in an almost 97% conviction rate. Judges became little more than observers. The pizza laws were spiced up with "enhancements" and bewildered pizza felons found themselves wasting away in "correctional" pizza parlors doing ten to thirty year stretches. Families disintegrated and pizza orphans roamed the land. Friends and relatives were turned against each other as deals were made and bargains were struck. Trust melted like cheese as a "Snitch Nation" came into being. Pizza Enforcement Agency (P.E.A.) thugs duped slice-level dealers into supersizing their orders by offering them two for one specials or appetizingly low prices. Under beefed-up forfeiture laws, innocent owners lost vehicles loaned to friends after pizza was found in the glove compartment. If pizza was found in a person's kitchen they lost not only the oven but their whole house or ranch. The Pizza Supreme Court ruled that this was not punishment. Anyone who looked different-and was carrying a large wad of money while passing through an airport or bus station had their money confiscated. Obviously it was pizza dough. Through these concerted efforts, Godfather's pizza and La Pasta Nostra suffered crippling losses but insidious new brands of easy-to-cook, hophead pizza sprouted up like mushrooms across the country as shakies pizza became a new and more dangerous craze. Pizza detection through mandatory pee tests became common for the working class and high schoolers, while it was sneered at and refused by the police and lawmakers. The nation's prison system went into a never-ending expansion as pizza affectionados lined up and fell like dominos. Jailers were having a rough time finding bunks for the rapists, murderers, and child molesters. Prison profits soared as goods produced by forced-labor gave the Chinese a run for their money. It was no longer a question of right and wrong, now it was business. Some folks were starting to wonder if the War on Pizza was more destructive than the pizza itself. But people caught with a mouthful already knew the answer to that one.
When herbal pizza was revealed to have beneficial medicinal properties which could relieve the pain of many suffering people, the elected officials refused to listen to the voters. When spatula exchange programs were proven to stop the spread of deadly viruses, the elected officials claimed the programs sent the wrong signal. Though herbal pizza could be used to produce superior, environmentally friendly textiles and paper products, the elected officials shrugged it off. When the Pastafarians, with their Ragu music, joined by the Grateful Pizza crowd and the magical Rainbow Family proclaimed Pizza a sacrament, the elected officials proclaimed that God didn't listen to people like that. All they were saying was give a piece of pizza a chance.
After 20 years of the War on Pizza and 150 billion dollars spent in the battle, pizzas were still flying across the borders like an invasion of Frisbees. After 10 million pizza arrests, yet no change in consumption patterns, the lawmakers still refused to admit the futility of their approach. Will the current "punish them" mindset give way to a more compassionate, harm reduction effort? Is there a light at the end of the oven?
Even our elected officials admit past pizza use. The President put some in his mouth and chewed it, but to this day he claims he didn't swallow. The Vice-President tried some, so did the Speaker of the House. Yet recently Newt "Soundbite" suggested the death penalty for those who cater a mere 100 slices. Are these "leaders" on the verge of nuking the pizza producing countries to the south? Is it time we demand that the lawmakers shift their benevolent energies to solving more pressing worldwide problems such as war, hunger, homelessness and the degradation of our Mother Earth? Will the elected officials develop clear sight and fortitude and do the right thing or shall we replace them? When can we be reunited with our loved ones who waste away in prisons as victims of the War on Pizza? And if the sleeping public doesn't awaken and see the War on Pizza for what it really is and demand its end, then there is only one remaining question. When, if it hasn't started already, does the War on Apple Pie begin?!?
Check out the prisoner's website at http://www.november.org