“How do you like the Quad-Cities?” everyone keeps asking me.

The truth is, I don’t have much of an opinion yet. I just moved here a few weeks ago. And there’s no real way to respond to that question. I can’t just say, “It’s nice, except some people here smell like fermented cheese and pickled haggis that’s been reduced in a motor oil demi glace.”

For the record, I am not suggesting that people here smell like fermented cheese and pickled haggis that’s been reduced in a motor oil demi glace. I’m just saying that I couldn’t say that if I wanted to.

When someone asks, “How do you like this place where three generations of my family have lived, and where I’m raising my own children?” you pretty much have to say something banal like, “Oh, it’s lovely!”

Truthfully, it’s been great so far. Everyone I’ve met has been nice in that Midwestern way that is almost Canadian, except with fewer “ehs” and “sorrys.”

I love my neighborhood, and traffic is a breeze for someone like me who’s lived in places like Los Angeles. Once you’ve lived in L.A., you laugh at what people call “traffic” everywhere else.

(Of course, now that I’ve typed that, I will probably get stuck in traffic on one of the bridges for several hours next week.)

My only real complaint so far is pizza-related. Now, before native Quad-Cities pizza lovers get all aggrieved, let me say that I love many styles of pizza. I love New York-style, Italian Neapolitan, Chicago deep-dish, and Detroit-style tray pizzas. I’ve spent many months in Brooklyn in the last few years, and New York thin crust is my favorite, but I like all those other pizzas as well.

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Besides, it’s not like New Yorkers are all that pure. The hottest pizza place last time I was in New York was Prince Street Pizza in Soho. I went, waited in the lines that wrapped around the block, and it was absolutely worth the wait. But that pizza all those New York hipsters are raving about is 75% Detroit-style, 25% New York.

If it sounds like I eat way too much pizza, my bathroom scale agrees.

All this is to say, I like many styles of pizza. I’m not mad at the Quad-Cities for developing its own style. I’m all for it. I rather like the malt in the dough, and am fine with the slightly spicier sauce, and toppings underneath the cheese. That’s all great.

But cutting pizzas into strips is wrong.

Sorry, this is not a matter of opinion. This is a scientific fact. It’s to do with the structural integrity of a piece of pizza. You pick up one of those long strips, and it flops right over, dripping cheese and sauce all over your shirt. Pizza is meant to be eaten off the crust, not licked off your shirt and your lap like you’re a golden-doodle.

I’m not even saying pizza has to be cut into triangles. Squares are fine. Squares are manageable. If you're going to do something as ludicrous as cutting pizza into strips, why stop there? Why not just cut it into hundreds spaghetti-thin strips so we have to twirl a piece of pizza around a fork to eat it?

Please, I beg you. Stop this madness. Cut pizza into any other shape. Triangles. Squares. Parallelograms. Anything but long floppy strips.

If we keep eating those floppy strips and dripping toppings on our laps, we really will smell like fermented cheese.

Josh Boelter is a freelance writer and television producer based in Rock Island. He is currently developing a comedy adventure series coming to a TV screen near you next year.


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