Just a few days ago I decided to give up being a vegetarian. To start I went to the market and bought a whole roasted chicken, a loaf of white bread, and a big jar of mayonaise. I went back home and ate the first meat I’d had in two years. It was a delicious yet horrible sensation to be eating meat again. When I finished, I went outside and took up smoking again. My old hack returned almost instantly, and I laughed as my body began going into antiwithdrawals.
“Take that!”, I thought aloud. It felt great, for the first time in at least months and perhaps years, I didn’t feel bitter at the meat eating, smoking, generally unhealthy mood our society seems to be in.
I used to laugh at the veggies, with their self righteous talk and save the world rhetoric. They were always browbeating some innocent guy that liked the way pork ribs taste. Let me be honest here, the original reason I quit eating meat was because my teeth are spaced closely together and it drives me nuts to get meat stuck between them. Whew! There it is, I‘ve finally let it out. After I started ordering veggie burgers, I met this girl and she quickly convinced me that what I was doing was right (is it ever that hard to convince someone that what they are doing is right?)
During two years of other vegetarians convincing me that we were right, I did learn some pretty valid reasons to avoid eating meat. The meat industry is probably the number one rapist of our natural resources, the meat industry is beyond cruel to our fellow beings, meat isn’t really that healthy or necessary for human beings, and of course meat sticks in my teeth. There are hundreds of other reasons, all of them equally valid, but I am drifting.So at this point you are probably asking “so why did you take it up again?”. I’m getting to that.
I was walking down a local street with two beautiful vegetarian women last week. We passed by a local burger place where two fellas were enjoying their cheeseburgers. I was thinking to myself that sometimes grilled meat smells so tasty when one of the women I’m with says “Oh, doesn’t that smell gross!” she said it much louder than necessary and woman number two says “Oh, I know, it’s so sick, I can’t believe anyone would eat something that smells like that.” Both of them were being pretty theatrical and loud so the cheeseburger guys could hear. I saw this look flash across those two guys faces and I immediately empathized with them, here they are , minding their own business and somebody comes along and bashes on the food they’ve been waiting for. “It smells pretty good to me,” I said. That was about all I could get out. Suddenly I was being barraged by vegetarian propaganda, all of which just didn’t change the fact that those burgers smelled good to me. It really got me to thinking.
I have lots of friends that could be described as hippies, they hang out and drum together, talk about love, and spirituality, etc. etc. etc. They complain about the system, talk about making things better and all that hippie stuff but most of them see somebody eating a burger and suddenly love is out the window. So anyway, It hit me all of a sudden that it’s just as easy to find enlightenment as a corporate meat-eater as it is to find it as an unemployed musician. Suddenly the whole world opened up to me. Wow, I can actually “sell out” and not give up my principles.
Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I have to eat it at McDonalds( McDonalds is a pretty nasty little operation, read up on it, you’ll see.) I don’t have to wear robes and sandals to follow my spiritual beliefs, and I don’t have to ruin somebody’s lunch just because I don’t agree with their beliefs. So anyway, there it is, I guess my whole point is go ahead and do whatever it is you want to do, I won’t judge you for it, but just because you don’t smoke, drink, smoke weed, eat meat, drive a big car, or worship satan doesn’t give you a liscense to be a jerk to those that do.
Published originally in The Echo. This was one of my first Ramblin Man columns in 1996