Michael Campbell

Story Time.

Boxed In

by | Aug 11, 2009 | Uncategorized

If I tried to roll dough into a rectangle, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I had my heart set on making pizza last night, but discovered I didn’t have any yeast. So I saved time by buying one of those dough-in-a-tube things. I cracked open the tube and unrolled the yellow dough. It was the shape of a cookie sheet.

I don’t know if that shape is supposed to be convenient for me or for them, but I didn’t want a rectangle. If God wanted pizza to be rectangular, he would have shaped Italy like Wyoming. I associate rectangular pizza with Roy’s Pizza in my old home town. Roy’s Pizza was made with boiled hamburger.

So I wadded the dough into a ball, mushed it, then stretched and pulled it out into a…rectangle? Try again.

I wadded it up again and whacked it with my rolling pin, then rolled it out again.


No matter what I did, the dough would return to its original dimensions, as if it had a genetic memory, as if the shape were a Pillsbury trademark.

Any other time I’d be proud to be able to roll a sphere of dough into perfect corners. It ought to be impossible, but here I was, so good at it I couldn’t stop doing it. Now it was personal. I didn’t want no skanky Roy-ass rectangle pizza.

Laura touched my shoulder as gently as if it were a mousetrap and whispered, “Michael, relax. Deep breath. Count to ten. Cooking is fun.”

It is only the second time in my life that I have actually counted to ten. The other time was also in the kitchen.

I whacked, kneaded, wheedled, stretched and rolled to a draw. It was certainly not a circle, and one might see hints of a parallelogram, but the finished shape was mostly amoebic. Laura thought it looked like a slug. But definitely not a rectangle.

The overworked crust turned out as light and flaky as slap leather. It tasted rectangular.

This morning I lifted my head from my rectangular pillow, rose from my rectangular bed, shuffled out of my rectangular bedroom and saw my rectangular morning hair in my rectangular bathroom mirror. I had eaten a rectangle, and now I felt like The Fly.

As I write this I notice that, although my Macintosh computer screen is distinctly rectangular, the computer itself is shaped exactly like a ball of dough.


  1. Carrie K

    I have dreams about the pizza I ate in Rome last year. It was beyond amazing. The thought of it makes me sit back close my eyes and struggle to recollect even the scent. The pizzeria itself was busy and loud and pushy and shovey with sweaty Italian men behind the counter oggling pretty Italian girls. There was no where to sit so we sat on the curb of a smelly Roman street to eat and it was HEAVEN on a rectangular crust!

    In my efforts to reproduce the experience I have also been reduced to the exploding cardboard can of dough. I try to picture those sweaty pizza men behind the counter popping open cans in their kitchen too.

  2. Kim Kronschnabel

    I am relieved ( sorry about that pun) to note that the word 'repugnant' was only used once in this mockumentary styled discourse. Having said that, I can only mention that you were fortunate enough to work with the situation sans "recently-used" overflow situation….enough said….the visual will make you return to the shower and possibly seek a haz-mat team. Ta-Ta


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