STEINBERG: Post-COVID opens, but only for vaccinated


The Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company stands on Clark Street are small. But all six of us got together pretty well last Thursday night. Admittedly, when my towel slipped off my knee and onto the floor, I only momentarily considered trying to slide my hand down and reach for it – a physical impossibility – before simply asking for another one from the server.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Lincoln Park fixture, it’s because it’s not one of the behemoths of the Chicago pizza world, not Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s. Here you don’t buy a flat or thin crust pizza, but sui generis concoction of cheese and dough cooked in bowl and turned over. We usually ignore it and make a meal out of a simple salad and Mediterranean bread sprinkled with Parmesan – it tastes so good. There aren’t many restaurants where you look forward to the dressing; This is one of them.

But we had newcomers – our sons’ girlfriends – who of course had to try pizza pie to achieve the Full Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder experience. Of the six, I was the odd one out. The professional status of others was: an assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois, aka my wife; three recent law graduates are studying eight hours a day for the bar exam next week, otherwise known as my sons and girlfriend B, plus girlfriend A, still in his third year at NYU Law.

You would think that at one point, as the conversation swirled around Rule Against Perpetuities, post-bar exam travel, and the tax benefits of living in New Jersey, someone would turn to me and say : “What, you are not a lawyer? “But that would require more attention than what a father usually receives in these situations. I knew my job here was to shut up and pay for everything, a job that I did admirably, if I say so – Even though I made a mistake once and started talking about reading literature, my wife immediately somehow managed to get her hands under the table and banging on my knee, the international signal for “You’re speaking. Why are you speaking? Don’t speak.”

Otherwise, I was on my best behavior. Girlfriend A has been around for over a year, but Girlfriend B, a recent development, had never met us before. I retained my natural question: “Why are you here?” Are you crazy? ”And asked instead,“ Where did you go, undergrad? ”When she replied,“ University of Southern California, ”I nodded quietly and said first thing that comes to my mind: “the Trojans.” Their mascot. That’s what I meant, anyway, not the Trojans, the brand of prophylactics, although I immediately got into it. worried that my comment would be interpreted that way, that I had inadvertently said an inappropriate remark that would be happily grabbed by my sons and hung in my face for the next decade. They didn’t seem to notice.

Do you know what I wasn’t worried about? Not once in the two o’clock dinner? Not from the first spoonful of salad to the last spoonful of tortoni and the chocolate-coated farewell caramel that Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder hands out with the bill because they’re so good? Dying. The whole COVID nightmare that began in February 2020 has receded enough, for me, that I no longer automatically feel the bulge of a mask in my pocket when I walk through the door into the vast and glorious world. Yes, there’s still a plastic sheet running the length of the bar here, like a salad bar sneeze guard. But it must be on the way out.

As for the half of the country that won’t get vaccinated because Fox News told them not to, or they don’t believe in science, or whatever, well, I wish I could offer some insight . But I can not. I can’t explain how they can dodge a pair of simple punches and put themselves and their children in danger. I don’t even like to think about it.

They aren’t the first to waste their lives out of ignorance, and I don’t have to be rude enough to find that thousands of people will die because they are fooled under the influence of a fraudster. To be like that; I’m not going to Argue with you. This matter of life is a good thing. You shouldn’t need me to tell you to hold on to it with both hands.

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