Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, IV

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And so in shabby imitation of the saints gone before I renounced meat, a thing I liked, accepted, but did not crave. I turned away from its minor pleasures and satisfactions in curiosity rather than in attempt to fast, to cleanse. Such shabby intentions, those. An easy choice. Little sacrifice. Self-indulgence in simple curiosity.

The folksinger Loudon Wainwright III once wrote about smashing his guitar in a drunken rage. "I bought myself a blonde guitar," the song ends, "I had it for three days, some junkie stole my blonde guitar, God works in wondrous ways."

And so it is as the years of supposed fasting, of vegetarianism, pass – "God works in wondrous ways," a decision made at random, a simple offering casually laid down without expectation of significant sacrifice, a test of will without true consequence – to prove to myself that, yes, I am here, and I have control over one small thing. I cannot remember exactly how many years ago I gave up meat. Perhaps ten, and now the fast continues because my abandonment of a meat-based diet did not come soon enough, at least for my taste.

"I feel better," I tell my wife when she asks if I am getting sufficient protein. "I should have quit sooner."

"God works in wondrous ways."

To be continued.

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