A phone conversation between Poor Kyle and me a few weeks ago went something like this:
PK: So what did you do down in AZ today, while I was up here in Canada being responsible and tending your garden?
Me: Oh, Lindsey and I went to Krazy Sub for lunch.
PK: Oh, Krazy Sub? Steve’s or Ned’s?
Part of me was disappointed that he even had to ask, but the other part was thrilled that he, a native of Mayberry, Canada, even knew there was a difference.
The answer to his question was “Steve’s”–naturally. Because there are three kind of sub-lovers in Mesa, AZ: Steve’s, Ned’s, and Subway [and Subway doesn’t count]. That’s what I always say.
And I am a Steve’s.
Which is odd, really. I mean, there are far softer breads in the world (hello, Port of Subs!), and far riper tomatoes than the ones served at Steve’s. His sandwiches are tasty enough, but not the best I’ve ever had. What is it about Steve’s that makes me such a loyal customer? It’s certainly not Steve’s quality treatment of us–the paying masses–because he does, after all, charge extra for pickles and drink refills (25 cents, to be exact):
In many ways, actually, Steve is quite the crook. He pays his high school employees a pittance, and (I know for a fact) he strictly enforces the “no extra meat, even for family” rule.
Perhaps it’s not so much that Steve’s establishment is good, but more that Steve’s establishment is better than the alternative; a lesser of two evils, per se. Perhaps the virtue of Steve’s Krazy Sub lies in its competition: Ned, arch rival and nemesis to Steve, has his own Krazy Sub shop not far from Steve’s. It is rumoured that once upon a time (30 years ago) Steve and Ned were business partners, nay–brothers. Business was good, and all was well in Mesa. But one day–perhaps amidst a business deal turned sour [no doubt Steve was trying to get more than his fair share of the profits, the crooked scoundrel]–the two split, creating new and separate shops; new and separate families; new and separate Krazy Subs. [Neither of them, unfortunately, enforced new and separate spellings of the word “Krazy.” Or new wall decor. Or shop-front lettering.]
Ned: Not that I would eat your subs anyway, but that giant head of yours on the window isn’t helping your cause. Really.
Ned moved east, targeting the customer base near Mountain View High School, while Steve stayed near home–Westwood High and area. The two schools, being lifelong rivals (along with Mesa High [who don’t really have a Krazy Sub to call their own, so we won’t talk about those guys much]), found the separate Krazy Subs to be excellent fuel for the “My-school-is-better-than-your-school” fire. Students began sneaking into each others’ Krazy Subs, leaving graffiti under the tables with black Sharpie™ markers that read things like, “Die, Ned!” and “Steve’s will rise again” and “Shea has big boodie [sic]!!” and “Jenny–will you go to prom with me?”. If I were going to graffiti on the underside of Ned’s tables, I would scrawl, “MOVING TO MOUNTAIN VIEW HAS TURNED NED VAIN!!!” in block letters–the man has his face plastered all over the place, including the door to his sub shop, and the website for said sub shop!
But I digress: the point is, life in Mesa has never been the same since the Big Split of ’77.
It should be noted, though, that I am loyal to Steve’s for more than the Montague/Capulet reasons. Steve and his Krazy Subs have been a part of some very important days in my life. He got me through countless wait-outs at the Mesa Lutheran Hospital (which is now dead and gone, just like some of my relatives who spent weeks there). Those Krazy Subs taught me about finances–if I can’t afford to eat at Krazy Sub and pay for the extra pickles and large Diet Pepsi, then I can’t afford to eat anywhere. Steve’s subs cheered me up when I lost the Student Body President election in 9th grade, and they were there when I celebrated winning some other position that same year by default. I commiserated not getting asked to prom there. I ate many “last meals” there with friends I haven’t seen since.
an style=”font-style:italic;font-weight:bold;”>I have a table there. When one of my friends worked there in high school, she gave me free pickles and the phrase “I Steal From Steve” was coined there.
And all I know is, when I walked into Ned’s to take a photo for this post, and saw all the photos of those itsy-bitsy Mountain View kids on the walls, I felt like a total fraud.
I don’t belong there–I belong at Steve’s.
…I would that everybody could know their place in life with such clarity.