I am going way back in my life for this story, but this is a great example of rigid thinking and the complete inability to understand where someone else is coming from.
For this story I believe the time was summer of 1993. The pizza chain, Little Caesars, had just released the Stuffed Crust pizza unto the world. After being exposed to that once I felt all other pizzas were inferior. I mean, who wouldn't want more cheese on what usually is the most boring part of the pizza?
This was fine and good, except on one Friday evening when I was at a friend's house in the neighborhood I lived in. When told what was for dinner I got elated. "YES! Little Caesars!" I said out loud.
In my mind there was no doubt what the order would be. Because I get the toppings of pepperoni and mushroom so does everyone else. And because I thought the stuffed crust was the best thing ever invented we surely would be getting that as well.
When asked what toppings I wanted I stated my usual, and said, "and we are getting stuffed crust" and then just to make sure I didn't sound too overpowering I added a meek, "right?"
"Aaron," the parent said, "the stuffed crust is $1.75 more." This made no sense to me. The stuffed crust was the best thing on Earth that it would be worth it at $5.00 more.
I made some argument as to why pepperoni and mushroom with a stuffed crust was the best and only pizza worth getting (because it was) to the parent. I was told that he would take it under advisement and he drove off to go order/pickup the pizza.
30 minutes or so passed and when he returned I was so excited. Surely the only pizza worth eating would be in the box. The smell of the pizza quickly engulfed the house and much like a tense moment on the game show "Deal or No Deal" the case, ahem, the box was opened and I was shocked.
Not only was the crust flat, there was no mushrooms or pepperoni. The ultimate insult had been handed out as it was simple a cheese pizza.
I tried with all my might not to say anything and we took the pizza into the other room. My internal fuming grew and grew and eventually I asked, "Where's the pepperoni?" and I got the answer, "Well, my kids don't like it."
This answer made no sense to me because, seeing how I liked it, everyone must like. Even today when I go into a pizza place and see the list of 20 or so toppings I think, "Wow, what a waste of space on the menu seeing how no one will ever order those."
Going back to 1993 now, I tried to eat it, and I tried to understand, but I had to make one more comment, "What about the crust?"
"What about the crust" was like pushing your luck one inch too far because the parent became irate, slammed his beer down, and stormed out of the room.
I was in shock. What did I do? I merely was pointing out the fact that the pizza was inferior in my mind. I wasn't trying to be annoying or to say that he messed up, well, maybe I was a little, but I was just ten years old and I wanted a stuffed crust. There was no malice in my words and I was trying (and failing) to figure out why someone would simply want a cheese pizza.
I wonder how many times this story has been duplicated. in other lives. I ask and I ask and I have no idea that what I am asking is making the other person mad. It took me until after my diagnosis to replay this "Case of the Stuffed Crust" before I began to see that, perhaps, I said all the wrong things.
At the time of the incident I think I was clueless as to why he got mad. I was scared though and I want to make that point clear. I was scared because he got mad and I didn't understand why. It made no sense and for a while I became afraid to speak because I was afraid of duplicating the feat of making someone mad without knowledge. And to tell you the truth, I still carry that fear, although not as much, today.