degrees

scarey goat

We ate at a pretty fancy pizza place downtown last night to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

It isn’t your “run of the mill” pizza place.

It’s fancier than that…wood-fired with a gourmet menu.

Zoe ordered a potato and walnut pizza…one that she’d had before and enjoyed.

I ordered a pizza for Jenny and I to share.

I decided that we should branch out and try something different this time.

So I ordered the salmon and goat cheese pizza.

Now I know what not to order next time we go to this pizza place.

It sounded kind of interesting on the menu…a diverse collection of ingredients accented by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction, if my memory serves me well….

The “balsamic vinegar reduction” should have been the tip off….too fancy for me.

Let me see if I can find the description from their menu online….

Yeahhhh…..here we go:

Roasted Salmon Pizza – virgin olive oil brushed crust, roasted salmon, fresh spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, red onion & local goat cheese with balsamic reduction drizzle. – 14

I think it was the local goat cheese that did us in….I could tell that it was goaty goat cheese. It tasted goaty….

Goaty and fishy isn’t a good combination.

That pizza is a good example of what a survival mechanism “live and learn” is.

Jenny didn’t like it…she has discerning tastes…so I ended up eating this nasty pizza because I didn’t want to waste it….which says something about my survival mechanism, I suppose. I’m cheap enough that I’d rather eat something that none of us enjoyed than waste my money.

We had a good time…but I wouldn’t recommend the goaty fish pizza.

(If they’d described it as “goaty fish pizza”, I wouldn’t have ordered it.)

I was thinking this morning about how so much of what we do is a matter of degrees.

Tweaked a little, some of these experiences would be wonderful and completely memorable.

If the salmon had been smoked and “drier”….thinly sliced….and the cheese had been slightly less goaty…and the drizzle of balsamic reduction had been more subtle….and….

And…if that pizza had been a hand grenade we’d all be dead.

It’s a waste of time to get caught up in “what ifs”….

But there’s so much that almost makes the grade….so much in this world that is almost great, or even “almost acceptable”, that our standards eventually are lowered to the point where we’re pleasantly surprised by even “competency”.

It’s like that old physician’s saying about “first, do no harm…”

It’s as if we were satisfied if most of our experiences didn’t go any farther than that….”do no harm”…but don’t do anything beyond that, either……

If an experience wasn’t “bad”….well….it has to have been “good”, then, right?

Knowing that, we can work at meeting a lowered expectation… because mediocrity becomes the new norm…the “do no harm” fallback position…the place where “good enough” is all we ever get because it’s all we now know…

This was just a pizza…and the company and the memory of the “goaty fish pizza” more than make the experience pretty great.

I don’t know that I could live in a world where I wasn’t blown out of the water by “excellence”, anyway.

The surprise would probably kill me.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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