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Late on a cold November night in 2011, half-dead in a blackout, wall groping stagger, I slammed chest first into the frame of the front door at a house several my younger fraternity brothers lived at in downtown Columbia, Mo. With a groan and a few flaccid handed, apathetic slaps at the doorknob as I incoherently mumbled the command, “Open you stupid gay door,” I stumbled out the threshold and onto the porch, inexplicably confused by the familiar surroundings — and also gravity. The cold air stung like the multitude of Rumple Minze shots I took down that night. I was exhausted from twelve-plus hours of football related drinking and a pretty vigorous puke session in the alley between the house and the bar Bengal’s. It was a miracle I was standing. It’s a miracle I remember any of this.
I made my way out onto the porch because I had ordered Gumby’s Pizza and knew that if I didn’t sit out there I would miss the delivery guy. I was passing out quickly, and no matter how many times I slapped myself in the face (seven times) I couldn’t fight off my body’s desperate pleas to let it heal itself from all the damage I had inflicted upon it that day. But I was graduated and no longer lived in Columbia, so an opportunity to indulge in drunken Gumby’s was not going to be missed, dammit. So I sat myself down on the porch swing, in the freezing cold night, with a 20-dollar bill in my lap, in the middle of the not-dangerous-but-not-particularly-safe-either downtown Columbia. I don’t know if there has been a moment in my life when I had been more deserving of a stabbing, aside from any time I go to a strip club in East St. Louis.
Pathetically, I had actually already drunkenly eaten Gumby’s once earlier that day. After Mizzou beat Texas my fraternity brothers and I went back to their house and demolished a couple pizzas and Pokey Stix before hitting the bars. Our sloppy, breathless savaging of the drunk eats was undignified in its own right, made even more so when who should walk into the house but Longhorn Network correspondent and future American sweetheart Samantha Steele. Escorted by one of my fraternity brother’s girlfriends (who knew her from a summer camp) the blonde sideline angel waved hello to us. I don’t remember how everyone else greeted her, but my response I remember clear as day.
“Mrup MRUP mrup!”
Had that greeting been spoken without a ranch covered slice of Gumby’s halfway down my throat it would sounded more like, “Hey HEY hey!” Goddammit I’m a drunk asshole. That, by the way, is the reason why Christian Ponder is married to Sam Steele and not me. That and that alone. Whatever, it was Gumby’s. It was worth it.
“Uh…hey,” a strange man said as he poked my forearm forty or so minutes after I first dragged my ragged body out onto the porch. “You order a pizza?”
I shot awake and quickly thanked God for giving me a pizza and not a switchblade to the ribcage. The Gumby’s delivery guy stood over me on the front porch. He wasn’t even confused. He had seen this a hundred times before, no doubt. He was probably just happy I had pants on. Credit where credit is due, it was a pretty clutch move on my part to remember to put my dick away after taking a piss. I handed the Gumby’s guy the twenty and shuffled back inside with my Clay Fusion. I was so hungry, so excited, that I didn’t even bother to grab a glass of water to go with the pizza. The complimentary cup of ranch would have to serve as a refreshing beverage. Like I gave a shit in that moment anyway. All I knew was that I loved Gumby’s. I loved Gumby’s enough to pass out in public while holding money just to get it. I loved Gumby’s enough to throw away a star-crossed future with Sam Steele. So, in honor of America’s greatest drunk college pizza place, one found at an assortment of schools across the South and Midwest, here are Gumby’s menu items, ranked.
Last Place: Any Salad
If you order a salad at Gumby’s Pizza you’re living life so poorly that not even a team of the world’s greatest life coaches could help you. At that point you deserve a Christmas Carol-esque visit from the ghosts of eating past, present, and future to explicitly explain why you’re so awful at life, and more specifically, awful at eating.
Why do you even have this, Gumby’s? Was the rest of your menu so gloriously unhealthy that the FDA forced you to include salads so that your establishments weren’t the worst thing for young American obesity since Coca-Cola used to put actual cocaine in their soda?
5. Gumby’s Wings
Gumby’s wings are, in truth, probably of a higher quality than their pizza. The wings are big, meaty, and the perfect amount of spicy. They’re also pretty affordable. 40 wings for 20-ish bucks is legit. Compare that to the considerably more expensive and less substantial Buffalo Wild Wings chicken wings and you realize how great of a deal Gumby’s wings are. Seriously, B-Dubs, do you even use fully grown chickens, or are you murdering adolescent chicks? You cheap monsters.
Though the wings are delicious, they make for better food while drinking than they do for a post-rager meal. They lack the absorbency needed to make your mind-crippling hangover two percent less miserable.
4. Almost Any Clay Fusion
For those unaware, the Clay Fusion is the fantastically devised combination of Gumby’s Pizza AND Gumby’s signature menu item, their garlic cheesy bread, known as Pokey Stix. If you’re ordering for yourself, or maybe one other person as well, this is probably what you want to get.
I say “almost any” because if you’re ordering a Clay Fusion and half of it is a mushroom, onion, and black olive abomination then no, that does not count, and we can likely never be friends because our arguments over which type of pizza to order would inevitably end in a physical altercation, because you’re wrong and deserve to be punched for ordering a pizza so terrible. It’s a physical altercation that I would win, by the way, fueled by my manly pizza diet of pepperoni, bacon, and other assorted meats. In a trial by pizza combat, divine favor wills the righteous to victory, and any person who piles veggies onto drunk food is not right in the eyes of the Lord.
3. The Stoner Pie
The ingredients of the Stoner Pie alone justify its inclusion any “best drunk food” list.
Pepperoni, bacon, extra cheese (sometimes a double portion of mozzarella, sometimes mozzarella and cheddar), mozzarella sticks, and French fries.
I have had this pizza only once, right before I went to sleep after an incredibly drunken night on The Square in San Marcos, Tx. It gave me intense, graphic fever dreams that would have ended up being wet, but consuming the pizza slowed my heart rate to the point that achieving an erection was impossible. Still, totally worth it, and worth the seven years eating this monstrosity took off my life.
2. Pokey Stix
As I said earlier, these garlic cheese sticks are the signature item on the Gumby’s menu. In terms of the pizza world, our clay hero’s red pony sidekick has become the star. Most times, when you’re with a group of people ordering Gumby’s, you order Pokey Stix first, and supplement that order with pizza, not the other way around. Just writing about them has me legitimately considering driving 45 minutes to the nearest Gumby’s and picking some up for dinner.
1. Stoner Pie Clay Fusion
Maybe this is cheating, but fuck it, I don’t care, because this can’t be topped. A Stoner Pie Clay Fusion, that being a pizza that is half Stoner Pie, half Pokey Stix, is the epitome of satisfying drunk food. It’s the type of drunk eating Nirvana that will have you foodgasm so hard that your puny human spine will snap in two like a twig at the unfathomable unhealthy greatness that is the Stoner Pie Clay Fusion, and you will be forced to eat all further orders of Stoner Pie Clay Fusions through a straw. Some things are too delicious for mortal men to endure. The Stoner Pie Clay Fusion is one of those things.