Best of 2023

You’re Probably Wondering Why There’s an Empty Pizza Box in My Trunk

I can see that you’re wondering why there’s an empty pizza box in my trunk. That’s perfectly fair. A dead body would have been easier to justify. Car trunks are supposed to house proper car accoutrements like windshield wiper fluid and jumper cables and maybe a recently bought and forgotten blender. That’s respectable trunk fare.

It’s not the place for the empty take out food containers, especially one that appears to be a giant 16 inch pizza box not normally meant for car consumption. No one eats entire pizzas in cars — that’s just preposterous. Burgers, sure. I mean, drive-ins have existed in the US since Kirby’s Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921, the thinking being that since customers were often driving up to restaurants in cars, why not just hand them the food through the window, you know?

So empty burger boxes, burrito wrappers, and fried chicken containers became a familiar sight in unkempt cars. Pizza boxes, not so much, and I’ll get to that. Obviously there are few drive-through pizza places, and even if they exist, they’re meant for picking up an ordered pizza and taking it back home to be set upon a table of some sort. I see what you’re saying.

There’s nowhere in a car to place a giant pizza box. It won’t fit on the dashboard or the seat and you can’t really balance it on the wheel or half out the window like a tray at an old-fashioned 1950s drive-inn. That’s true.

Nor can a pizza box be used to transport other things, like one would do with a shoe box. For instance, I could never say to you right now that the reason there’s a pizza box in my trunk is because I was using it to transport books or clothing to a Goodwill. Stamps, maybe, or perhaps some sort of ceramic pizza sculpture. I think I’ve seen those at modern art museums.

It would be ridiculous to claim that it was too big to fit in my recycling container and so I had to take it to the dump, because I live in an apartment building. And I suppose if I told you that I picked up a pizza and brought it over to a friend’s house, and then he gave me back the box like one would return Tupperware, you wouldn’t accept that as a situation occurring in reality.

What would it be doing there? Maybe I had a pizza picnic on the beach with a girl even though I’m single, maybe I saw it on the road and picked it up so it wouldn’t cause an accident, or maybe when I bought this car it came with a free pizza that I shared with the car salesman on the lot? Of course, none of that makes any sense.

It certainly couldn’t be that on Wednesday night I drove to that pizza place I like that’s too far from my place for delivery, knew it would be cold by the time I got back home, and then ate a few slices while driving before pulling over to the shoulder and finishing the whole thing.

That certainly is not what happened two years ago on a Wednesday when I supposedly did that. No one would eat a 16 inch pizza alone in their car on the side of a turnpike while playing “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and wondering where it all went wrong. That would be a desperate cry for help, a savage act of gluttony, a total bastardization of American drive-in culture.

Why is there a pizza box in my trunk? Because I’m fat, that’s why. Fuck off. Just get in the car.