Meat is disappearing from our home.
She doesn’t talk about it, but it’s getting progressively harder to find. It’s 2010 and the freezer now bulges with “delicious” looking veggie burgers, green substance tacos, and tofu dogs, but no meat. No real meat. There’s fakin’ bacon, wheat sausage, phony baloney and ground seitan (which, appropriately enough, is pronounced “Satan”), but no real meat.
Waaay in the back of the freezer, frozen to the rear wall is a ziplock bag with a frostbitten chunk of real meat we were given in some bizarre Y2k Christmas gift exchange. At least that’s what I think it is. We may have to wait until the Spring thaw to know for sure. It’s akin to finding a woolly mammoth in ice near the North Pole. Nobody is really sure how old it is or whether they should even thaw it. I might have to eat that soon.
She’s only been a vegetarian a couple of months (Thank you, Yoga Retreat Center) and already she collects parables about the evils of meat wherever she goes. We’ve been regaled by the tales of people dying with 30 pounds of undigested meat still in their colon. I know, right? These are not stories you really ever need to hear. I’m sure that’s an urban legend, but I haven’t had time to look it up on Snopes. And then we have to hear how humans are not really designed to eat meat because our colons are too long.
Vegetarians are really obsessed with colons.
Apparently they trot off to the loo about 6 times a day and this is a good thing. It shows they’re healthy. Sounds more like a handicap to me. I don’t know how I’d find the time to go that often. And if you’re out and about a lot, that would put you at the mercy of public toilets. Eww. Women don’t truly understand how disgusting mens public toilets are. They can’t really grasp that most male public restrooms are not places where you want to expose your colon. They’re disgustingly like colons. See!? I can’t help myself! Now I am starting to talk about colons and I hate talking about colons! I don’t even like talking about semicolons! Anyway, men’s toilets are places you want to pass in and out of without touching anything other than yourself.
Well, you know what I mean.
Our 6 year old boy has been my trusty first sergeant in this cold war. At first, he was ready to become a vegetarian like his mother. Then I told him that hot dogs and chicken fingers were meat. Since then, he and I go on secret reconnaissance missions to Trader Joe’s. Using Black Ops hand signals we move through the store to purchase all kinds of frozen, thawed, canned, organic, range fed, massaged, counseled and voluntarily slaughtered turkey, chicken, pig and cow. As meat eaters go, we try to be politically correct around these things. If fortune is with us, she’ll be napping or away when we return. We’ll stealthily load them deep into the freezer and fridge. When she eventually finds our stashes, and she will (hiding things from my wife only buys time, not the discovery of the crime), we put on our best innocent grins.
Smiling, she asks, “And what are these ribs doing buried at the bottom of the vegetable drawer?”
“Um, what ribs?” I’ll ask nonchalantly with a carefully sculpted innocent face.
The innocent face is a terribly important aspect of this moment. The truly innocent face will never break into a smile. It’s genuinely curious and slightly confused as to the question. It requires a thespian at the top of their game and I train every day.
“The TJ’s baby back BBQ ribs I’m holding right now.” Just hearing that phrase rings my Pavlovian instincts, so I shift gears.
In my best Barry White imitation I say, “Aw baby, baby you know I love it when you talk that way…”
“Don’t joke with me, Mr. Very White. I thought we agreed we were giving up red meat as a family?” She had me in her sights with that one.
“Isn’t pork the ‘other white meat?’”, I replied, trying to look innocent again.
“Cute. Well you can take it back to TJ’s tomorrow. And bring the boy with you so he can see you do it. I want you to set a healthy example for him and this isn’t it.”
And with that, she tossed the ribs back in the fridge while I contemplated eating them cold in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s and pretending they’d been returned.
That’s not too crazy, right? Right?…