Maggiano’s Little Italy

The next round of Nobel Peace Prizes may finally be money for the Institute of Drinking Studies. Nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning, we find ourselves wishing to hasten the end of the world -- which obviously is nigh, if you read those Left Behind novels or live in northern Colorado Springs. But even through our stupefying hangovers, we recognize that the increased strife in the Middle East could be one of the final harbingers of doom, at which point we discover that we're not so eager to end the world after all.

So over a few drinks recently at Maggiano's Little Italy (500 16th Street), we discussed how to resolve this latest crisis. Our work was fueled by the return to Denver of the former Head of Research, as well as the original Mexican member of the Institute (greeted with a roaring chorus of "Cheech!," which JP opined "makes us sound like a sitcom"). Several rounds of Peroni, Moretti and Crown and Coke lubricated our stunted imaginations, but the real credit for our groundbreaking work goes to JP, the master of allegory and abstract thinking.

Early in the evening, I apparently said something to warrant being called a "wiener" by JP. It's been a long time since I've been called a wiener, and that last time may have been on a playground somewhere. Even then, this simple word rendered me speechless -- because if you retaliate, you run the risk of being a bigger weiner, and it's not socially acceptable, even by playground rules, to clock a kid with glasses and a pocket protector. And I was speechless again at Maggiano's, which was probably lucky, because the Naive family couldn't find any better place to sit their six kids than at a table in the bar right next to fifteen adults who had scores of empty glasses and no food before them.


Maggiano�s Little Italy

500 16th Street

Credit for any restraint in our behavior goes almost entirely to the new Italian Representative, who alone accounts for 90 percent of the Institute's maturity. He even offered a brief lesson on social fabric and irony. You see, the Italian and his wife, the Valkyrie (so named because she is from somewhere in Scandinavia), recently moved back to Denver from San Francisco, and he'd been sodding his yard for the last week or so, working shirtless. In San Fran, he'd never sensed prying eyes -- but now he has three neighbors who are far more "progressive," shall we say, than his immediate neighbors were in that famously "progressive" city.

This revelation led to a brilliant discussion of how to live and let live and love our neighbors, which concluded with our realization that the way to bring peace to the Mideast is to bomb the place with giant Maggiano's meatballs. The former combatants will be too busy eating to fight.

And if that doesn't work, they're just a bunch of weiners.


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