The Panini King of New York Rallies His Troops
Panini King threw open the doors and started shouting before he even
reached the front of the room. His troops in the storeroom had been
anxiously awaiting his arrival.
"I want to own this city.
"I want Paninis in every deli in this city, and I mean every single one
— uptown, downtown, midtown, in the furthest reaches of Queens to the
end of the line in Brooklyn — wherever there is a deli, there are hot
The troops started nodding.
"And I want Paninis front and center in the glass displays. I want
signs in the front of the deli, over the counter and on the register.
There should be Paninis and Panini signs in every deli on every block
in every borough of New York City."
The Panini King, now standing dead center at the front of the
storeroom, took a moment to survey his troops, for it would be up to
them to make his dream come true.
"All this must happen over night. One day, people are in their delis
grabbing the same old mayo and mustard drenched sandwiches on two plain
pieces of food processed bread. But WHAM, the next day, they walk in
and it's Paninis, Paninis and more Paninis. Pictures of Paninis on the
walls! Paninis in the display cases! Paninis being pressed! The guys
behind the counter shouting, 'Hot Panini!' And most importantly,
Paninis being eaten!
"I shouldn't have to say this, but let me make this very clear,"
pausing for a moment, and then raising his voice considerably, he
screamed: "Paninis are not sandwiches. Paninis are Paninis!"
The troops thought they should start clapping, but the Panini King
didn't give them that extra second to actually put their hands together.
"I don't want people to go to lunch thinking, I'll just grab a
sandwich. Those days are over. Over! But this isn't just about changing
a mindset. This is about taking over. This is about conquering the
"And to conquer the sandwich, we have to destroy it," he smacked his hands together. The troops' heads snapped back.
Almost whispering, the Panini King continued: "I want to destroy the
ham-on-rye. I want to destroy the tuna fish sandwich. Egg salad? What
the hell is an egg salad sandwich? Turkey, roast beef, salami ..."
Getting louder now: "I want it all gone. I want these sandwiches to go
the way of the PB and J. That's right, the good ol' peanut butter and
jelly sandwich. Nobody sells these anymore. You couldn't give away a
peanut butter and jelly sandwich even if you wanted to."
The Panini King squared his shoulders, and then surveyed his troops
again. He made sure to make eye contact with each and every person.
And then, in a booming voice: "I even want to take down the pastrami sandwich!"
As if the floor suddenly dropped out from underneath them, a collective
gasp sucked all the available oxygen out of the room.
The Panini King knew he had made his point. He relaxed a little.
One of the troops gave in to the easing of the tension and thought he
would be funny. He opened his mouth and spoke without really thinking
"What about burritos?"
"Please," said the Panini King. "Everybody knows you can't get a decent burrito in this city."
"How about hot dogs?" said another of the troops.
"From the vendor carts? Those are for tourists. The closest thing to a
New Yorker who eats hot dogs from a street vendor is an L.A.-based
actor on a TV show set in New York."
"What about wraps?" one of the troops with a big smile on his face inquired.
"WRAPS?" screamed the Panini King. "Who said that?"
The troop member's big smile disappeared immediately, and he tried to
hide his head behind his own collapsing shoulders.
"Wraps? Wraps? That's just a sandwich rolled up in paper! The wraps
don't add anything, and instead, they take away — the flavors of the
meats and cheeses and vegetables get sucked away by the horrid taste of
what might as well be toilet paper."
If the Panini King hadn't been so sure of himself and the deliciousness
of his paninis, his confidence might have been shaken. How could
someone bring up wraps? The insult! The ignorance! He gave a look to
the troops that made it clear he didn't want to hear about wraps ever
Then, with a voice of unwavering righteousness, he boomed: "The glory
of the Panini on the grill must be seared into the lifeblood of this
city's lunchtime routine! Forget the roast beef sandwich! Forget the
BLT! Forget turkey, tuna and the ham-on-rye! Those are over! Those
sandwiches are being sent to the land of the peanut butter and jelly
"Hear me now: The Panini is already crowned king. I know that. You know
that. But after the rest of the city knows, after we beat down the
sandwich for once and for all, we're going after the real king of the
hill: We're going to take down the slice of pizza!"
Everyone was already standing, but now they were standing taller,
clapping and shouting, and screaming out, "Paninis! Paninis! Paninis!"
They would continue to cheer and scream for some time. The Panini King