Things have gone too far. We could endure the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. Then it was the coin shortage, sanitizer shortage and a variety of other deficiencies of supply all related to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Even injured workers are technically in shorter supply, with a dramatic drop in claims around the nation (OK, that is not a bad thing, but there are economic impacts to that reality). As a nation we endured. We all put on our big boy and big girl pants (or non-binary gender-neutral outerwear, whatever) self-isolated, masked up, and just dealt with it. 

But now they’ve gone too far. I read this week that pepperoni is in short supply, and some pizza shops may not be able to get any for the delectable pies they serve. No pepperoni! For the love of God, haven’t we suffered enough???

Experts attribute the shortage to both an increase in demand and challenges in supply. It seems that while we have been hiding at home in our non-binary gender-neutral outerwear, we’ve been ordering an inordinate amount of pizza. Many of those pizzas have been adorned with delightful, delicious and delovely pepperoni. At the same time, meat processers have been challenged with illness related work shortages, and pepperoni, as with anything worthwhile, is a difficult product to produce. The result is that prices are on the rise, and pepperoni may be harder to come by. 

Rumors that the shortages are the result of Papa John’s new Shaq-a-Roni pizza, which is offered with an impressive 66 pieces of pepperoni per pie, have not been proven accurate. I suppose that I have contributed to the shortage in part but will not take the blame alone. It’s not my fault that pizza shops have perfected “contactless delivery,” which largely consists of dropping my pizza on the ground, banging on the door and running like hell. It is also not my fault that pepperoni, otherwise known as the “perfect meat,” is so darn yummy. Especially when used to top pizza, which is in itself one of the four basic food groups. 

This isn’t like some of the earlier, panic induced shortages like the toilet paper debacle. It is not, like the coin shortage, produced because we can’t figure out how to cram all the loose coins we’ve been collecting in recent months into the bank drive-through’s pneumatic tubes. This is a genuine shortage brought on by production challenges at a time of increased demand. Alfred Marshall would be all over this one (Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics developed a supply-and-demand curve that demonstrates the point at which a market is in equilibrium. There is no word on if he was wearing non-binary gender-neutral outerwear when he developed that theory).

Deep down I know that things will eventually normalize. COVID will eventually fade, either through herd immunity or improved medical protocols or vaccines. I estimate that will occur on or about November 4, 2020. Supply issues will clear up as life returns to normal. Even the workers’ comp industry will rebound when all those toilet paper and pepperoni producers are back on the job and injuring themselves again. But until that point, life without pepperoni hardly seems like a life worth living. It is pretty evident that our long national nightmare is not yet over. 

Just thinking about it could make one soil their non-binary gender-neutral outerwear. November 4th just can’t come fast enough.

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