there’s the rub

25 September, 2008


Hey- did you know I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 7 years old?

I didn’t tell you before because I don’t really talk about it at all. People tend to argue with me- question my reasons, my ethics, my methods (not you, of course, just people).

My parents were always clear that our pets were members of our family- and I bought it- my dog is my best friend. All of my friends are animals (you too, silly, you’re an animal). There were no kids to play with on my block (they were no blocks where I grew up, only fields) so it shouldn’t be too surprising that, at age 7, I decided there wasn’t a clear difference between my pets and the cows and chickens living next door. If pets are family, are my friends, and there is little to no difference between pets and food animals, then I should not eat someone’s family.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand the environmental, economic and ethical issues of production and nothing I have found suggests the earth is in any way improved by eating the flesh of animals. (This is the point where people like to try and argue with me. Don’t do that. I’m much better at arguing than you are, I promise, and I’m not suggesting you give up your beloved (half soy) BigMac, so don’t sweat it).

I try dead animals every once in a while. PawPaw fried some catfish years ago and I tried a bite. All night I dreamt people were trying to stuff fried catfish into my drink. I ate a fried oyster a while ago and nibbled on some gumbo recently… It’s been so long- so many of formative years were spent without that kind of…texture… I just don’t think it tastes good. And I feel icky afterwards, like I just ate too much chocolate cake and eggnog.

Anyway, I thought you should know. I don’t eat meat. And I love animals. And the earth. (But lest you think me completely clear and understandable, I also have a FOID card… and a gun).

And Archimedes? The awesome canary that I took this picture of yesterday? Had a stroke or ear infection this morning that is making it impossible for him to stand upright. I had a presentation to give this morning- more on that fiasco later- but when I opened his cage I knew something was terribly wrong. Rushed him to my emergency vet and she treated him but I won’t know for 48 hours if he’s going to make it or not. He’s twitching in is cage right now, trying to stand up but unable. I can hear him in there now, the soft skirr of his wings breaking my heart. I hate waiting- not knowing if I’m simply torturing him or if he’ll rally. I hope.

I have learned so many of these lessons already, I know life is not fair, even if I don’t know what life is, exactly. I have memories and sentences in my head that would drive normal people mad. I have no wish to unload these things- I will not do it here, for most of these scenes are not mine alone. I will not betray my mother. I will not betray the fabric of this quilt for the smear of shit and blood staining the seams. I will not forsake the beauty for the bile (no matter how inseparable they become) because, because I am a goddamn American, that’s why.


3 Responses to “there’s the rub”

  1. Pare Says:

    Oh, honey. So sorry. Keep my updated.

  2. Oh no!!! (The bird, not the vegetarianism.)

    I suppose it would be very uncouth of me to remark on what a gorgeous photo that is.

    I’m so sorry. 😦

  3. smoothpebble Says:

    Here’s to hope! Nate and I just found an abandoned kitten by the side of the road yesterday with a wounded or broken leg, and I just can’t take care of one damn more thing. But of course we rescued it and we are feeding it and the whole bit. And feeling very pissed off at the numb skulls that don’t spay and neuter their pets and leave their irresponsibility for someone else to clean up after. Sorry about all that……Life is not fair!

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