This morning on my way to getting coffee, I passed a giant display for Marlboro’s “Dream Big” contest. I immediately thought to myself, “They’ve discovered a way for me to achieve my biggest dreams WHILE nursing an unhealthy addiction? F**K yeah! Where’s the saw for my right arm?”
I would have pursued it further, but the Marlboro website requires you to sign up for entry. And ever since I’ve given up cigarettes, I find I don’t really have the energy to finish things I start. But that didn’t stop me from looking back over my life and recalling the larger-than-life dreams I once held as a young person… back when anything was still possible, we learned all we needed about safety from a police parrot, and AYDS was just a diet candy!
Come on… let’s hold hands and take a walk down Memory Lane. A rich, creamy, juicy peach and basil pizza awaits us, along with all kinds of “Gary Green’s dreams” that evaporated amidst more unpleasantness than NBC’s ill-conceived Emeril Lagasse sitcom.
Gary’s Biggest Dream Age 1 day – 10 years: to become a cast member on The New Mickey Mouse Club – Not the version with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake; the version before that with Blair from The Facts of Life that no one remembers because it didn’t clear enough markets in syndication to make any long-lasting impression. How I Thought This Would Happen: For reasons I still cannot understand, I believed that a guy with a bullhorn roamed neighborhoods in a slow-moving pick-up truck inviting any kids who “wanted to be stars” to “hop in the back!” Then, he’d whisk us all off to Hollywood. How it Played Out: I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t dance. I was quickly chased out of any pick-up truck I climbed into. The only talent I demonstrated at that point in my life was impersonating Bob Barker and forcing the rest of my family members to come closest to guessing the actual retail price of the dog.
Gary’s Biggest Dream Age 11 years – 20 years: to become a cast member on Dallas. Yes, I was now able to stay up past 8pm and quickly discovered the world of prime time television. I said goodbye to Match Game, Tattletales and Hit Man and stepped up to the world of tv for adults! How I Thought This Would Happen: I would be playing at the park and approached by an excited talent agent who would invite me to make a screen test and take me in his car to Hollywood. I’d be successfully cast in the role of “loner street orphan” who’s taken in by the Ewings/Crew of The Love Boat/Fonz and The Happy Days gang… whichever show bid the highest for my talents… and be immediately embraced by the American viewing public. How it Played Out: The only time I’ve appeared on television during prime time hours was when I fired up the VHS copies of my two game show appearances when people came to my house for pizza and were given no other option but to watch.
Gary’s Biggest Dream Age 20 years – 30 years: I was going to be the next Alfred Hitchcock. How This Would Happen: I would watch a lot of Alfred Hitchcock movies. I never really figured it out past that step. And thankfully, this dream didn’t involve hopping into the back of a stranger’s vehicle. How it Played Out: When I finally arrived in Hollywood, there were no multi-deal, multi-million dollar contracts waiting for me. So I decided it best to “downsize my dream” from feature to director to screenwriter, then again to television drama writer, then again to situation comedy writer. That last one worked out for a while, and then I became a game show producer.
Gary’s Biggest Dream Age 30 years – 40 years: Hang on to a job. How This Would Happen: Say yes to anything, peruse Craigslist religiously, pray. How it Played Out: If anyone hears of an opening on a game show, please send an e-mail to TvFoodAndDrink@gmail.com. I’ll make you this pizza… for free! All you need to do is supply the crust, the cheese and the peaches.
I’ve also decided to put the idea of accepting rides from strange men offering jobs back on the table. Because one thing I’ve learned from my time in Hollywood… it’s never too late to dream.
Peach and Basil Pizza
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 ounces fresh mozzarella-sliced
- 3-4 peaches-thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
- 1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
Pre-heat your oven and pizza stone to 500º F.
Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside, and cool to room temperature.
Lightly brush your pizza dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top the dough with mozzarella, peach slices, fresh basil and parmesan. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic reduction. Bake in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, turning once mid-way through. After removing, let cool for several minutes, slice and serve.