If you’ve ever ordered dinner through one of the megaliths dominating the restaurant-delivery world, it’s hard not to be a little underwhelmed. Michael Graff puts on his tomato-sauce-colored glasses to remember his teenage days as a Domino’s driver, and to wonder what we’ve lost in the mass shift toward convenience. An unexpected dose of nostalgia that’s perfect for a dreary winter week.
This was the summer of 1998, and I needed work to fund a couple of new habits I’d picked up during my freshman year: dating, Bruce Springsteen CDs, Busch Light. The Domino’s gods had recently dropped a franchise alongside the main four-lane road that cut through the small community of Bryans Road in rural southern Maryland, where I grew up, lifting our culinary scene to new heights. The Domino’s was attached to a drive-through liquor store, which was next to a parking lot where a family sold steamed crabs out of the back of a truck. Also in the area was a Burger King, a McDonald’s, a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant.
But although customers had to drive to all of the others, Domino’s drove to the customers. Even in our strange attire, we delivery drivers were like kings who wore the jewel of a Domino’s sign on our crowns. Once, a police officer noticed me going 25 miles over the speed limit. He whipped around, but rather than ticket me, he pulled up beside me and wagged his finger, as if to say, Heavy is the head that wears the crown.