Everybody knows the priorities of establishing a new residence:
1) Put sheets on the beds.
2) Unpack the bathroom stuff.
3) Find a decent pizza place.
Now, Ann Arbor is the birthplace of Domino’s, so there’s no shortage of Stinky D’s around. But I can get one of those anywhere, and being an airy-fairy yuppie food snob in perpetual search of authenticity, I always hope for a locally owned alternative I can patronize. Progressives in A2 frequently boycott Domino’s, over founder Tom Monaghan’s anti-abortion work, but I think that’s a dead-end road. I was just looking for a better pizza.
A few weeks ago, we got a flyer in the door for Hello Faz Pizza. This one, actually, with one modification: Faz’ caricature has been replaced by a small photo of him with Lee Iacocca, captioned, “Lee Iacocca, Says Hello Faz.” Plus, it also seemed that if I wanted a halal pizza, I could get it there. (Halal is the Islamic version of kosher, for you non-world travelers.) And it was close by. If nothing else, this seemed to be the place I was looking for.
I ordered my first pizza for pickup, and was not disappointed, because I got to see Faz’ hall of fame, dotted with photos of him with celebrities and autographed 8-by-10 glossies of others — lots of Detroiters and, perhaps inevitably, Mitch Albom. And then I looked closer, and saw a Detroit Free Press clip of this story, about how Faz accompanied Bill Clinton on his trip to India in whenever-that-was. He was one of 300 regular folks invited to go along with the Big Dog, chosen because he’d written a letter to Clinton, encouraging him to start a peace process between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region.
I’m becoming accustomed to these stories. It seems no one in Ann Arbor is just another working shlub. The boutique publisher printed the works of Russian authors, then smuggled them into the Soviet Union. The police chief writes op-eds for the New York Times. And the pizza man went jogging with the president. In India.
On my trip to Hello Faz, Faz Himself (Faz Husain, actually) was in the shop, picking up a pie for his own dinner, a good sign. Faz said hello (of course), wished me well, hoped my pizza would be satisfactory, and then, in a final act of graciousness, complimented me on my car. “Eez a beautiful car. What kind of car? A Passat? Very beautiful.”
Haven’t seen Tom Monaghan yet.