I did something kind of weird the other night. I guess first of all I should tell you that for the last few years I’ve been a vegetarian. Meat pretty much grosses me out. But the other night I was with a friend in the drive-thru at an undisclosed fast food restaurant, and I asked him to order me some fries. Instead, he orders two quarter-pound cheeseburgers, and tosses one my way.
Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon I found myself scarfing this big greasy patty of dead cow, and actually not being revolted by it. Now, this situation’s got me a little worried. Does this mean that I’m a carnivore, or was this just a one-time relapse? I just can’t see myself eating meat on a regular basis, but what if the urge comes back again?
Befuddled about Beef
I know how you feel. Oh, you’re back, baby. Forget about the veggies and the pasta, it’s steak and shrimp time for you. Now, had it just been a taco, for instance, or maybe a chicken nugget, we could call it a relapse. But an entire quarter-pound cheeseburger, that’s full regression. You might as well get yourself one of those value meal cards and a membership in the Steak-of-the-Month club. I’m afraid there’s no turning back for you. But what you must realize is that it’s okay. You don’t have to feel bad about eating meat, millions of people do it every day.
You also have to realize that it’s not your fault. We may wish to think that as intelligent, well-educated people (see previous letter), we are capable of controlling who we are and what we do. But you see, free will is really an illusion. Consider the Clay Tablet theory of human nature: people are a product of their environment. You probably grew up in a family that ate meat. They probably served meat in your school cafeteria. I would be willing to wager that at most of the restaurants in your home town, the only vegetarian items on the menu are a side salad and the grilled cheese from the kiddie corner. So you really don’t have any choice in the matter. You’re a carnivore, accept it.