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I’m minding my own business yesterday in the supermarket checkout line. I’ve got a nice beef tenderloin I’ve been fantasizing about cooking throughout the miserable work day, when I feel a tap on my shoulder. Cringing at the thought of a high school throwback encounter, I turn to find an ink-covered munchkin with a level of hygiene so inhuman you’d expect a cartoonish cloud of odor and insects over her head.
“Yes? Do I know you?”
“Hi sir. Do you realize forty-one million cows are murdered on average annually to support your unhealthy and unsustainable eating habits?”
“Ok, please stop.”
“Six ounces of tempeh actually provides comparable protein to red meat without any saturated fats, and less than a tenth the cholesterol.”
“Miss, please. I am not interested.”
“The average American male does not know their eating habits directly cause the murder of nearly 100 innocent animals per year.”
This fly refused to allow me my meat-ridden picnic, an attempt at some much-needed Monday evening relief.
“Seriously, I have been very nice to you and listened to what you have to say. Now please, let me stand in this line in peace, purchase my food, and go home.”
Like a three-hour English lit lecture, she droned on with utter nonsense as I could feel my veins Popeye vacillating in rage. I don’t give a fuck what you eat, grant me the same respect and leave me alone.
But no. I checked out, thinking finally I had escaped my granola-loving stalker, but the rant even continued into the parking lot. She offered me “literature,” a bumper sticker that said “I think; therefore I am Vegan,” and finally, as I was about to close my door and escape, she caused the explosion: “Perhaps if you were educated, you’d care about your planet and the lives of others. Maybe someday you’ll do something.”
I composed myself.
“You know what? You’re right. Maybe if I was like you, undoubtedly uneducated, probably a fucking barista at some coffee shop with graffiti on the walls and homemade soy milk slinging lattes all day listening to indie rock, I’d be ‘making a difference as you say.’ Guess what? Nobody believes any of this. Just because you eat out of bird feeders and still skateboard like it’s 1998, doesn’t mean that people forgot you’re a high school dropout addict with no future and a stick so far up your ass you apparently consider yourself an actual tree. Fuck off.”
I slammed the door of my car, the rearview mirror illuminating the ending scene of Marley & Me level sadness of my formerly pompous agitator. I felt nearly sick with myself. I couldn’t just stay composed, get to the vehicle, go home and relax. But this shit is out of control.
If you’re a vegan, good for you. Shit, this is America, go do whatever the fuck you want, but understand everybody else’s right to do the same. I’m sorry, but no matter how many root vegetables you “brine,” I’m not going to think your cartoon tattoos are “sick.” I won’t respect your “mission trips” to the meat processing plants. I don’t want to hear your agenda as you park my car, and I sure as fuck do not want to be approached as I mind my own business in a grocery store.
Veganism, for all its merits (there are a few) is not for me, nor, quite frankly, the best way of life for humans. No, I’m not a doctor, but I do know every former/current addict I went to high school with now claims to be “plant fueled” and they look a few months from HIV turning into full on AIDS.
Saggy, no muscle tone, gaunt, and pale. It’s like the tribal tattoos exist only to hide the plant based decay of their humanity. You absolutely cannot, and will not, convince me that chicken breast, fish, and lean meats (depending of course on preparation) are not good for the human body. You just can’t.
If I am in church, don’t talk to me about abortion. If I’m entering my office on Wall Street, I don’t want to hear about the “criminals of finance.” If I’m at my doctor’s office, don’t tell me how immunization is wrong. If I’m at a football game, I don’t want to hear how kids shouldn’t be allowed to play. And when I’m at the fucking supermarket after working a twelve-hour day and spending more than you’ll ever make as an “advocate” on an education, don’t tell me I’m not “educated enough” because I don’t adhere to your agenda. Leave me, and the rest of us, alone.
Your “Meat is Murder” and “Protein Deficient” t-shirts are enough. Your endless hashtags, ridiculous “Hey, I’m curling soup cans, plants make you stronger” Instagrams and snaps, open social media lambasting of “carnivores,” and general disdain for capitalism says enough.
I’m glad you found something that works for you, but so have I. If we want to hide our self-hatred by eating grass, we will come to you. Trust me..
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