In a Sow’s Ear
Big Timber, Mont.
What’s a Red Meat Survivor? That would be those folk who have had the incredible bravery to consume beef, chicken, pork, antelope, bison, elk, deer, fish, rabbit, geese and the occasional rattlesnake as part of their daily diet ” and survived to late 80s, 90s and up.
What’s a Vegan? That would be those folk who plan to live forever by ingesting only plant life. Anything else (including chomping earth worms, I assume) is a no-no.
Hold it! I’m wrong. I just heard there’s a Vegan movement afoot to ban the catching of nightcrawlers for fish bait. From now on, anglers will be obliged to use a hunk of tofu shaped like a worm.
Recently, my neighbor, Nellie called to ask if she could borrow my horse trailer.
“Sure,” I said. “Come on by. I’ll fix sandwiches for lunch and we can have a good gab.”
“Okay,” said Nellie. “My cousin Vivian is visiting. All right if I bring her along?”
“Need you ask?” I said, with a chortle. “I’ll just make more sandwiches. I’ve got a lot of left-over roast beef.”
There was a short pause. Then Nellie murmured, “Er, ah, Vivian’s a Vegan.”
“Really?” I said. “What country is that? Does she speak any English?”
“This time, Nellie snorted. “She’s a Vegan, not an alien. It means she doesn’t eat meat.”
“Oh,” I said. “Okay, I’ll make some egg salad sandwiches.”
“Ah, no, she doesn’t eat eggs either. Eggs come from chickens. She only eats grains or vegetables or beans.”
“Well,” I said, “I guess I could let her graze in the pasture with the horses.”
“See you in half an hour,” said Nellie.
They showed up. Nellie, dressed in jeans, shirt, boots and western hat, winked at me, then rolled her eyes as if to say she couldn’t be responsible for her relatives.
Vivian, on the other hand, wore a skintight undershirt only it wasn’t under anything; it was over everything except her navel. That portion of her anatomy remained uncovered except for the rhinestone gem hanging from it. Her designer jeans clung to the tops of her pelvic bones ” barely. Her feet were encased in thong sandals, and both toenails and fingernails sported eye-piercing polish embossed with weensy motif drawings.
I admit I stared.
I learned a lot during lunch. For instance, peanut butter and jelly slapped between two slabs of bread is okay. But don’t offer a Vegan milk if it comes from a cow or a goat.
I did my best to be a gracious hostess. “Tell me about Veganism,” I said.
Vivian Vegan flipped her long hair back with the hand not holding the p. and b. sandwich, and launched into a practiced oration. From all she droned on about, I gathered that Vegans eat fake food. She described hamburgers, pseudo-sausages, fake bacon and phony chicken breasts built from tofu and grains.
“Why bother shaping that stuff into look-alike-meat pieces,” I asked. “why not just dump into a bowl and spoon it up?
“Because,” said V.V., smiling smugly, “we are trying to get the world to admit that eating meat is bad for you and bad for the planet. We think making our foods look like yours will make it easier for you to transition into better eating.”
I gawked. Then I reached into my pocket and extracted my Swiss Army knife. “Well, Vivian,” I said, “being a Vegan means you’re a herbivore ” like horses, cattle, sheep and such. Meat eaters ” like wolves, coyotes, and cougars are omnivores. Omnivores eat herbivores.”
Unfolding the large blade of my knife, I began a studied cleaning of fingernail dirt. “I wonder what Vegan tastes like?”