“You awful thick to be a vegetarian, ain’t you?” he asked.
“I just started about three weeks ago,” I replied, without thinking.
I was at Wendy’s ordering a Caesar salad without the bacon bits. The man waiting on me asked why I didn’t want them, he said they were the best part of the salad. That’s when he took it upon himself to look me over from head to toe and pronounce me “thick”. First of all, what gives him the right to asses my body? Secondly, why the hell did I answer him with anything other than fuck you?
The reason I wasn’t eating meat is because I saw a video of a happy cow. This cow was frolicking. It was loving playing in hay. It was nuzzling a man with what seemed like boundless love. It was a happy, happy freaking cow. It ruined my eating. I don’t want my food to have a personality. I don’t want to wonder about the internal life of my cheeseburger. But, there I was.
The first few days were pretty easy. I felt good about my decision. I felt slightly more spiritual and evolved than my fellow bacon eating humans. I swore I could actually smell blood when I walked past the meat section at the grocery store. I thought my cats could tell I gave up meat and were looking a little deeper into my eyes when I pet them. I felt we were truly communing. Unfortunately, my kids didn’t take it well.
“I’m black! I need meat, macaroni and cheese and shit,” my daughter wept as she looked at the eggplant lasagna I made. I wasn’t worried. She worked at Burger King and my son went to his father’s house almost every day. They could easily get their daily intake of carcass. They would be fine.
“I made you mac and cheese last weekend,” I countered.
“Out of cauliflower! That’s not mac and cheese and you know it,” she really looked like she wanted to hurt me. I was trying to eat healthy in general, not just give up meat.
I was a month into my spiritual journey when I began to wane. I really missed chicken on my salad for lunch. I needed protein, I reasoned. Chickens probably don’t experience happiness anyway. Their brains are the size of a walnut. So, I decided I could eat chicken. I decided not to eat pork because pigs are supposed to be as smart as a three year old or something. Fish wasn’t a problem because it’s gross and I don’t eat it anyway. Cows were happy so no beef. Chicken became my fair emotionless game. Skinless, boneless and organic chicken was my new best friend. Kids still weren’t on board as I wouldn’t make fried chicken. I did have some food standards left.
A few days into my chicken phase my daughter brought home a hamburger and dropped it into my lap. It was warm. It smelled so good. It had cheese on it. She sat across the room on the couch in her Burger King uniform holding her breath and watching me. I tried to rise above the aroma. But, my mouth started watering. I couldn’t take it. I unwrapped it and took a huge bite. She sighed an audible sigh of relief, took her Burger King hat off and leaned back into the couch.
“Thank you, Jesus,” she said.