Do Posture Problems Go Hand in Hand with Making Pizza?
Growing up in Brooklyn and hanging out on Avenue J, which I did plenty of when I was a kid, Di Fara Pizza was just a place that I would get a slice from like any other. Now, year after year, Di Fara’s is consistently ranked the number one pizza place in the country (though there is some place in phoenix that seems to be challenging them).
Nowadays I am lucky enough to live about four blocks away. Di Fara’s is an experience for many reasons beyond the fact that it is truly amazing pizza. Outside is a classic slice of Brooklyn life and its beautifully mixed cultural landscape. The atmosphere inside is great as people routinely wait an hour and a half to two hours for a pie and laugh about it, and Domenic, the only one allowed to make the pizza is a trip to watch as he sticks his bare hand into 700 degree oven and pulls out a pie. It is also stupidly expensive but worth it.
The truly great slices of pizza have something different about them and a slice from a Di Fara Pizza pie is unlike anything else out there. I might as well mention my two other favorite places while I am at it. The square slice at L & B Spumoni Gardens rivals Di Fara’s in my heart, as does Totonno’s in Coney Island. Totonno’s is a standard pizza but there is just something about it; the crusts are transcendent.
Now to the point of the post—I think, or hope, that the young man to the left is Domenic’s son— if he isn’t the point of the post is useless but I will carry on as if he is. Domenic is the only person allowed near the oven. His “son” preps everything in the kitchen and his daughters sell the pies. Watching Dom bent over his pizzas while you wait is a thing of beauty and pain. He doesn’t stop; sisyphusian in the endless repetition of making pie after pie after pie. That is the beauty part.
So it is no wonder that he has posture problems with a fairly extreme kyphosis. He is habitually collapsed in the right waist and high on the left side and shoulder. He moves/shuffles from place to place within a fairly small range of motion. That is the pain part of watching him work.
Then out from the kitchen come his son. He is a mirror image of the father with the same collapse on the right side of the waist and an extreme kyphosis on the left. While there might be some congenital issues with the family I am guessing that Domenic’s posture developed from forty years of repetitive stress and the son’s posture developed from having an obsessive compulsive father.
We develop our posture and learn to move from a whole host of factors imitation being chief among them. It is important to appreciate where and who we come from but we also need to analyze what we might not want to follow in the people we imitate. There is no need for a son to inherit his father’s posture problems.