Friday, May 7, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, V

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And thus it has become a decision – a lifestyle, a preference – I often wear with whimsical self-awareness, as if I have deliberately chosen to move toward the borders of normalcy to attract attention. At table as a dinner guest, or when dining out with friends, I sometimes intercept glances as I order.

"Gary doesn't eat meat," my wife will explain.

"Oh, god, I could never do that. I would miss steak too much."

"Why don't you eat meat?" someone asks.

I cannot explain, not then, not amidst knives and folks, beef and pork grilled and roasted, not about what I have come to believe, to understand about what I perceive as my place in this world. Instead I rely on humor. "It's not really that I'm a vegetarian," I say. "It's just that I don't want to eat anything that had a face."

Humor disguises truth, as we all know, and reveals it, and isolates us from the point of the jest – which in this case arises from all I began to read, to see, and to think about the idea of meat isolated by technology from the animal as a living creature.

As Emerson tells us, "You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

To be continued.

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