No, I don’t mind vegans. So they choose to make a stand by not eating, smelling, touching or even pondering anything that comes from, is vaguely shaped like, or has once been looked upon by an animal. If this makes the world a better place (while inflating their egos and creating a false sense of self-righteous superiority), good for them!
The moral arguments abound in favour of this entirely noble cause. Sustainability, health (I question this, but I’ll let it go for now), and the downright fuzzy wuzzyness of adorable little piglets with their little tocks and adorably kissable snouts.
Hell, if anyone has any reason to be a vegan, it’s me. I’m the guy whose father came home one fateful Sunday when I was 12 yrs old from a less than successful fishing trip saying, “Son, come outside. I have something for you.” (Please imagine this said in a very heavy Russian and Middle Eastern accent, it will make it more palatable.) What was this present, you ask? Well, you can imagine my shock when I eagerly skipped outside only to have my Borat of a father pop the trunk of his 1998 Camry, revealing a live sheep (lamb?) bound at the feet, bleating lamely because it had been stuffed into an area the size of a coffin. “Wha… What… the fuck, dad?” was my natural reaction, not unreasonable considering the circumstances – the circumstances being that my father had just stuffed a rather sizable live animal into his family-sized sedan on a whim on the way home from a fishing trip after seeing a sign on the side of the road that said “LIVESTOCK FOR SALE.” I am imagining the conversation that likely occurred at the site of the purchase. I will hereby refer to my father as Borat, to help you paint a more accurate mental image:
Borat: “Hello. You have lamb?”
Sheep farmer: “Sure, how many are you looking for?”
Borat: “One. If he taste good, I come get another. I want maybe 100-150 lbs. Fat, but fit into my car.”
At this point, I’m sure the farmer weighed the pros and cons of selling livestock to a crazed foreigner who may or may not have been planning on killing the animal and smearing its blood on the doorways of his friends and family. The point here is that he not only sold it to him, but bound its legs and tossed it into the trunk next to my soccer shoes (those were promptly burned). I guess it had been a rough year at the ol’ Hwy 9 sheep farm.
“Watch your fucking mouth, and help me carry him to shed.” My father may have been a lot of things: slayer of animals, impatient and angry Mathematics professor, god of giant backyard bonfires (making him infamous with the local fire department), and mushroom expert and peddler, but he’d be damned if he’d let me grow up with a potty mouth.
I feel a little context is in order here. The setting: the front driveway of my urban North York (Toronto) home. Tiger lilies, lilies of the valley, tulips, roses were blossoming in the spring warmth. My dog sat lazily tied to a long red leash, lapping at the bucket of water on our front lawn. Monarch butterflies circled playfully around the huge Maple tree, red currents bushes were starting to flower with promise of a good yield. It was a thoroughly charming day in Toronto, except, of course, for the imminent slaughter of an animal.
Neighbours gaped (as well they should have) as my father and me, a skinny and awkward youth, laboured to carry this reeking animal to the backyard and hung it up in the empty extra shed. At that point, Borat pulled out a huge bone-handled hunting knife and said, “Cut its neck.” All I could see was the gaping mouth of the sheep and its frightened eyes staring directly at me. There was nothing I could do but squint and slice. I shall spare you the details, kind reader, but rest assured that it was bloody. My mother, the kind meek woman that she is, recoiled in horror and ran inside to rid herself of her lunch.
The crazy part? When it was all done, my father started a huge fire by burning down three quarters of a birch forest and cooked the damn thing. On the spot. Right there. All of it. And even crazier was when all his brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces (my uncles, aunts, and cousins) magically materialized to join in the barbaric ritualistic feasting of this poor creature. Of course, much vodka and whiskey was also consumed. It was like a real-life re-enactment of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except before the movie even came out. I can (proudly?) say that my father killed and cooked a whole live animal before it was made popular by Hollywood. Hurrah!
So, clearly, if anyone has reason to never touch animal products ever ever, it’s me. And yet, I love the delicious meaty texture of undercooked meat and the fatty gristle that sticks to the top of your mouth as you chew carnivorously. Of course, having endured the above experience (and even though I came out still eating meat), I understand completely the desire to avoid that particular food group.
However, I do not appreciate it when the preachy vegans – usually working in couples, and the girl is usually very attractive – approach me unsolicited (or subtly egged on, I fail to recognize the difference) and begin explaining to me the horrors endured by animals before they are killed and the morality of eating meat. First of all, very few people can claim to have actually killed an animal and I am one of these people. The confrontational side of me simply cannot resist boasting of this fact to these poor dogmatic followers of Vagenism. I usually bring up the following points:
- It’s okay for other animals to kill animals (and devour them much more messily than we do, mind you) but not for us? What are we if not animals ourselves? In this way Veganism substantiates religion because it claims that humans are somehow “different,” morally aware or what not.
- INCISORS! Om nom nom tear.
- Humans need protein, and I’ll be damned if I subsist on soybeans, algae, and setan.
- It’s delicious. My body wouldn’t tell me it’s delicious unless my body wanted me to eat it. QED.
- Paul McCartney be damned! The Great Canadian Seal Hunt helps keep seal populations in check. Break out your seal clubs, friends.
So next time, vegan, you see a bearded (or moustached, depending on the mood) Canadian man sauntering down the street of San Francisco, be wary. Don’t approach me and spout your leaf-eating gospel, because I’ve seen and done things, man. Things you’ve only ever seen in documentaries.