Odd People On Campus: Southern Mississippi’s Underground Pizza Guy

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Many campuses have an odd person who has become somewhat of a legend due to his or her strange activities. However, I doubt many of these people double as someone who will make you eat drunk food between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Chances are, when you order pizza over the phone, you’re greeted with a pre-set company line and then feigned happiness of the person who takes your order. However, if you call the Underground Pizza Guy at the University of Southern Mississippi, the person on the other line answers with an unpleasant “What?” After that lovely exchange, you order your pizza and give him your address. But, rumor has it that if you know the “secret” words, he will lace your pizza with whatever you want, unfortunately, this is still unconfirmed. If you live too far away from his delivering radius, he will ask you to meet him in a Walmart parking lot. If that doesn’t look like a drug deal, I don’t know what does. I’d almost rather be caught by the police making a drug deal than making an exchange in the back of a Walmart parking lot for a pizza.

Officer: “What are you doing at a Walmart parking lot at 3 a.m.?”

Me: “……..Buying a pizza out of this guy’s trunk. Actually, never mind, I was buying drugs. That sounds better.”

Shady as hell, right? That’s only the beginning of the Underground Pizza Guy’s shady pizza company. Whenever he rolls up to your apartment (literally rolls–he will turn his dilapidated Monte Carlo off and coast into a parking spot) you see a man who looks like he’s been alive a little too long. He has a long, crusty, white beard and long gray hair. Basically, he looks like an even more homeless version of Rob Ryan. You start to notice his appearance as he gets closer because he always has his dog with him. He also always wears an old t-shirt, cargo shorts, and (my personal favorite) socks and Crocs. When you open the door for him, you make the pizza-money exchange and he gives you your change from a wad of cash that he keeps in one of his socks.

The Underground Pizza Guy has been around for at least 30 years, and there are countless rumors to how he got started. I heard one time that he stole a pizza oven from one of the pizza chains and then started his shady pizza delivery service. I like to imagine that he stole one of the giant pizza ovens in a similar style to “Ocean’s Eleven”, but instead of famous actors, he just used people from his local bingo game.

I had the experience of seeing him in the grocery store once, where he was buying pepperoni, sausage, cheese, and other things that I just assumed were dead hooker parts in bulk. The empty look in his eyes made him seem like he was too old to still be in the pizza business and that he would rather just sit in his basement listening to Grateful Dead for the rest of his years.

Outsiders believe he may be some sort of pizza delivering wizard, like a shittier version of Gandalf. I would agree with that if it weren’t for the socks and Crocs–those make me believe he’s more likely to end up hanging out with Chris Hansen than having magical powers. Regardless, for $9 (plus a good tip, you don’t want to end up in an alley later) the Underground Pizza Guy will always be my favorite odd celebrity at Southern Miss.

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