I recently accidentally was tricked into becoming a quasi-vegetarian by Jonathan Safran Foer. If you don't know, JSF is a totes brilliant writer who wrote two of my favouritest novels ever: Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. If you think I'm exaggerating when I say that he tricked me into becoming a quasi-vegetarian, you would be wrong. Here's the (thrilling) story:
I was at the library and saw on the fast reads shelf (for non-VPL folks: that's the shelf of books that are popular so you can only have them for a week) a book called Eating Animals by my good friend JSF. "Great!" I thought, "I've been looking for a new and awesome story that will poetically move my soul to a higher plain." So I took it out. Turns out it's a non-fiction that's actually about humans eating animals and the farming practices in the US and if you read it and have a conscience there is no way you will be able to continue your usual animal-eating practices. No way. Unless you engage cognitive dissonance for evil and choose to push it all away with some cock-eyed justification and then you will probably never question eating animals again but will lose a piece of your soul. Sort of like how horcruxes work.
So now I am a quasi-vegetarian, which means that I have decided to maybe still eat meat if I'm, say, eating at someone's house and they slaved away at a meal for me. And I will probably still eat turkey at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Or at least gravy. PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME EAT MASHED POTATOES WITHOUT GRAVY BECAUSE OTHERWISE THE POTATOES MIGHT AS WELL NEVER EXIST AND I WILL CURL UP AND SOB IN THE CORNER RUINING EVERYONE'S HOLIDAY. The big deal for me is that I will no longer order meat in restaurants. It's pretty much the only time I eat meat anyways because I never buy it to cook because that takes, like, fore-planning and putting some kind of effort into what I eat and who has time for that?
Here's the thing: I now know that altruism is real. You know how people always say that there is no real altruism because people always feel good about doing their good deed and so it's selfish on some level? Well I am very possibly the very first example of true altruism in the world. I don't feel good about this meat-avoiding at all. Every time I am ordering food and have to figure out what to eat instead of chicken strips or fish n' chips (because YES, fish is bad too, thanks a lot JSF you couldn't have skipped the part about how bad the fishing industry is, could you?) or a chicken caesar salad or whatever other incarnation of chicken I am instinctively driven to order, I am just miserable. Really. I try to remind myself that this is better for my health and the environment and the animals and the workers and humanity overall, and I hope that will make me feel better about what I'm doing, but I'm really just unhappy. I just really want to eat chicken strips so badly. Or bacon when I get my $3 breakfast from Bon's. And now I can't. Instead I will probably have to order something with lots of vegetables in it, which is just the worst.
So there you are. ARE YOU HAPPY WORLD? ARE YOU HAPPY JSF? ARE YOU HAPPY ANIMALS? I hope so, because I sure am not. Stupid conscience.