In a Sow’s Ear 1-25-10
Recently, I was visited by a politically correct vegetarian. With fanatic zeal, she preaches her beliefs to others. Meat, she claims, especially the red kind, will never touch her lips. Consuming any kind of animal flesh would make her ill.
She spoke of her passion while seated on my leather-upholstered sofa in my living room. Beneath her Italian leather shoes, a sheepskin rug played with her toes. The wide belt that held her top and bottom halves together had once been part of a bovine. I wondered how she’d coaxed the cow into giving up its skin. She continued her diatribe on the subject of vegetarianism and I began to feel accused of a deadly sin.
So I asked her, “How about other carnivores?”
“Carnivores?” she echoed.
“You know, those other animals of Heaven’s kingdom that eat meat? Are you planning to train leopards to quit munching on emus and water buffalo? If you can do that, how about turning wolves and coyotes onto leeks and lettuce so they’ll leave my lambs and calves alone.”
“You don’t understand,” said Ms. Veggie. “I avoid red meat, white meat, dairy products and eggs. I eat only barley mash and cauliflower. My system repulses anything else. It’s a spiritual thing.”
“Son-of-a-gun,” I said. “Maybe I should turn my little ranch into one giant vegetable garden. Vegetables don’t bunch up and stampede across the top of a person as the sheep did to me this morning. I got dumped on my face in Mother Earth’s finest fertilizer.
Energized by my own rhetoric, I babbled on. “And vegetables don’t have to be wormed or rounded up or fed hay in the teeth of a blizzard. And anybody can castrate a carrot.”
“And rarely do you have to go out in frigid weather to check the heifer cabbages, let alone pull a baby one out of its mamma.”
“And breeding vegetables is a straightforward matter of dropping a seed in a bit of dirt. You’re not required to have a bull vegetable. You don’t have problems with a broccoli boar shooting blanks or a sow cauliflower lying on her babies. And rarely do you have social problems with hired men falling in love with the zucchini.”
Talking with Ms. Veggie made me hungry. So I invited her to sit at my kitchen table while I started supper. I pulled some nice prime rib steaks out of the freezer, put some potatoes in the oven and started chopping up salad makings.
“See,” I said, “Vegetables. And I’m fixing a spinach cheese casserole as well. It’s a spiritual thing.”
Ms. Veggie sniffed, shuddered at the sight of juicy steaks and began to draw on her leather gloves in preparation for departure. I paused in chopping a stalk of celery and sort of waved my knife in her general direction.
“Something occurs to me,” I said. “Seems as if the carnivores of the world go around eating up the herbivores. Like lions eat buffalo; foxes eat geese; cats eat mice. Maybe vegetarians are put here as food for the rest of us. I don’t care for rare vegetarians, so how would you like yourself cooked – medium or well-done?”
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