For the Love of
by Robert Lynn
Life is full of little
ironies. On the same day I am to meet my
girlfriend Rebecca's all-vegetarian family, my
doctor tells me I have to give up meat if I wish
to continue living.
So, that evening, I sat
with a plate of vegetables staring at me, daring
me to eat them, as Rebecca's parents, brother,
two sisters, three grandparents, aunt, uncle, and
dog looked on.
I squinted at the brain-looking
plant, better known as cauliflower. I have a
special dislike for cauliflower for two reasons:
It tastes like grass, and it's not meat. Were I a
grazing animal, I might appreciate its flavor.
Being what I am, I would much rather eat the
grazing animal than what it grazes on. Although
the Ferguson's might not have heard of it, it's
called a food chain, and I don't want to
eliminate the mooing middle man.
I put a forkful of
something green in my mouth. My digestive system
immediately screamed for a full-scale mutiny. I
lurched forward, spitting the "food"
back onto the plate, and coughing wildly. Twenty-three
eyes instantly turned to me. (Grandpa Ferguson
lost an eye in the Big War.)
"Are you all right?"
Rebecca said, slapping my back.
"Did something go down
the wrong pipe?" Grandma McFadden asked.
As far as I was concerned,
there was no right pipe for this dreck to go
down, except the one connected to the garbage
"I'm fine," I
lied. I started to sweat. If I didn't eat this
stuff, the Ferguson's would be insulted, Rebecca
would be humiliated, and our relationship would
fall apart, like a tender piece of prime rib.
"Oh. I almost forgot
the meat loaf," said Mrs. Ferguson,
springing to her feet.
Omnia vincit meatus,
I thought. Meat conquers all. Apparently,
my meat loaf rapture had me thinking in Latin. I
asked for two big, juicy slices. As Rebecca
passed me the plate, her words hit me like a
punch in the throat.
"You're gonna love my
mom's vegetarian meat loaf."
The sweating returned.
Tremors followed. My vision narrowed to pinpoints.
Then, what has become known as "Meat
Madness," set in.
"This is not food!
Carrots, broccoli, turnips. What am I, a mule? I
don't mean to sound pedantic, but you can't have
meatloaf without meat. It doesn't work that way.
Vegetarian meatloaf is an oxymoron. In fact,
you're all oxymorons for eating this crap and
pretending it tastes like food!"
I took a piece of the
vegetable loaf and, walking to the nearby
bathroom, flung it into the toilet, thus ending
my manic episode, and, as I soon realized, my
relationship with Rebecca.
I eventually apologized to
Rebecca and her parents, though it was too late
to salvage our relationship. It's too bad.
Painful as it was, I eventually cut meat out of
Though the cholesterol is
gone, what remains is great sorrow, knowing that
in my heart, I will always be a carnivore.