"The world's smallest painting ... Our Beautiful Canada was painted with a single hair and the aid of a microscope. The artist considers his price of seven million dollars not too high."

The Globe and Mail, January 25, 1979.

Now, it came to pass that a seasoned young diner by the name of Simon decided to revolutionize the restaurant trade. It was his firm desire to bring some chutzpah into the all too predictable and dreary cuisine on this part of the continent. From the first, Simon maintained that food and pleasure were inseparable. Moreover, since food could be a vehicle for fantasy, even more tellingly it could provide an outlet for self-expression.

The lily pad pizza was typical of his new approach and was a twofold operation: a parent might buy an inflatable plastic "pizza," the size and shape of a small wading pool. It had an edible spout and dehydrated "sister," pizzas attached to the parent ship that allowed a child to fantasize while sailing and enjoying his favourite food. If that sounded too decadent or illusion inspiring, a sleeker model existed minus the extras - in other words the green wading pool size pizza unruffled by further wizardry.

Simon always maintained not everyone could handle too much soft-pedalled reality. Out of the dense formations of endless fast food chains, Simon's novelties were to titillate the jaded restaurant goer.

Interpretive signs and amenities guided the erstwhile onlooker to the "ultimate," in fantasy dining. Rhinocerous pizza was served flanked on an inflatable horn. For the less adventuresome, a lobster pizza with drawn butter could be had either with tangy dough balanced along its claws or imprints of lobster cut into the succulent crust. Children loved the lily pad pizzas and mothers discovered how delightful baby tears were when presented in tastefully done little cups. Terrariums soon arrived and were pedalled shamelessly. Some outlets claimed "billions and billions," were sold.

Simon also cornered the potent swamp water drink market and was having his empire go "wet." The familiar Chartreuse would now be available at request and a grown up might indulge primal fantasies along with a taste to be a gardener, rake and glutton all at once. Special suites were rumoured to exist patterned after the Poconos in Pennsylvania where a couple could bathe in a pizza-shaped tub embroidered with baby tears, fountains, tropical lianas and all the air plants one could stand pressed against your steamy shower. Pizza machines for a quarter lined the tubs and one operation had dispensed with coins altogether issuing instead rubber baby tears that substituted for money. They could be strung around the neck like shark's teeth. Swamp water in little jars added a further touch to this risquë© scene.

But, of course, for the really discriminating the boar's head feast was the sign of a truly adventuresome palate. A Black Forest effect could be conjured up complete with moveable props. A pig's head stuffed with not the familiar apple but instead each tusk hollowed bulging with pizza. Another version saw rhinocerous shaped pizzas rolled in the style of Yap Island discs, that land being noted for its odd wheel like currency. A boar's head contoured in the recognizable shape but with tusks only made of pizza was a favourite alternative. After all, gourmands bought escargots in order to fill their shells then, after washing, repeated the process on future occasions. And, most certainly, no one could deny that Simon's ideas were anymore outlandish than the epicurean Romish feasts of peacock tongues and assorted other naughty delicacies. His was but an updated version appealing to the mobile North American lifestyle. Frisbees even began to resemble pizza and trampolines approached that air. It was all the rage to be Italian and boast of one's prowess in demolishing mounds of pizza.

Yet trouble was afoot for Simon and his proteges. The very real puritanical element in society saw Simon's chain of exotic pizza emporiums in the same league as exotic dancers and sought to banish them, seeing that gluttony was akin to lust. Therefore, pizza pie body parlour rubs began to vanish.

Moreover, peevishly spiteful children insisted on spreading rumours that Simon's operations used day-glow worms as substitutes for pepperoni and unwashed algae as a base for pasta crusts. People began to question the wisdom of letting children act out their fantasies with food as that commodity was a very emotional subject and a testing ground for good parenting. Psychologists soon began to join the harangue and claim the pizza emperor was a poorly toilet trained debauchee acting out repressed impulses in the form of a greedy diner. Some, in fact, claimed he was in the anal stage of his development and that his taste was all in his mouth. Food faddists and health nuts wondered aloud about the wisdom of combining so much dough with gelatin plant fibre. It seemed most everyone was rushing to deflate the pizza bubble and end our love affair with the anchovy.

Unemployed pizza cooks and pizza rub girls were soon at the end of the dough line. In fact, so great was the influx of misplaced persons that the term "on the dough," for a time replaced "dole," as an euphemism for hard times. Extortionists began to muscle in asking for their share of the pizza pie. Newspapers began gloating over the imminent bust of the "infantile," pizza passion.

Still, Simon confided his trust in the same observation that must have motivated Lord Sandwich when he launched his invention. People will always search out the delicious and the readily available. What could be more elementary than meat between bread, frogs on lily pads, protein over raw vegetables, food amidst food?

Simon set his heart to selling automobile soft legs to hosts of touchy epicures who really wondered at this juncture if anything that unusual could really taste like chicken.