Pizza Shuttle is an institution. For Jayhawks of a certain age, the restaurant (invariably pronounced with an “i” in place of the “u”) was an oasis—virtually the only place in Lawrence to get hot food delivered after the bars closed.
Ordering it, though, wasn’t just a way to placate stomachs filled with cheap beer. It was an act of maturity, a declaration of independence. For the first time in your life, you were in the adult world, making adult decisions, and you’d decided to make some bad ones.
Eating junk, after all, is more than a mere culinary indulgence. It’s an embrace of life, an expression of the glorious, bulletproof feeling that’s so emblematic of youth. Junk food is an act of true mindfulness, a hot and greasy way to seize the moment, heedless of one’s waistline or cholesterol. It’s like smoking—fun, maybe, but very, very dumb.
Last month, I tried Shuttle again. It was honestly a bit like going back to college at forty. The pie was the same, predictably bland and greasy. But the circumstances around it were so different that the experience became unrecognizable. Instead of a raucous apartment on Ohio Street, I was alone in my Johnson County home. Instead of an inner voice whispering “indulge,” I heard my cardiologist whispering “Is that really such a good idea?”
The thrill was gone. Shuttle pie is a hot, fast, salty, fatty, guilty pleasure. The best way to enjoy it is probably drunk, late at night, while making bad decisions. Just like youth itself.