I became a vegetarian in 1976 while watching a deer being butchered. Now I think it’s one of the best things I ever did.
I don’t know why everyone isn’t a vegetarian, but then I would say that. I’m sure Tony Blair doesn’t know why everyone isn’t a slimy double talking lawyer.
We become our beliefs and wear them like a suit of clothes, and it’s easy to imagine it’s all there is until you come face to face with reality, as I do whenever I visit a restaurant:
“There’s nothing on the menu for me. I’ll just have the salad.”
“Oh come on, surely you can have chicken. It’s got such a small brain it’s practically a vegetable.”
If you tell your doctor you’re a vegetarian, you can hear them mentally tutting. It’s like telling a priest you’ve converted to Islam – they pretend they don’t care, but they do.
Not that I see very much of the doctor, as I’m hardly ever sick. I don’t know if this is because I’m a vegetarian, but I’m guessing it is. All I know is I can go for years without getting a cold, and I always feel great. Hooray for me, and pass the bean sprouts.
The last time I saw the doctor, she looked at my file.
“I see you’re a vegetarian. Is that for health or moral reasons?”
I’ve been asked this so many times, I’m ready for it now.
“Neither. I just do it to annoy people.”
“Yes, at a dinner party or in a restaurant I like to be the person for whom special arrangements always have to be made, just to put everybody’s nose out of joint.”
I managed to keep a straight face, but I don’t think she believed me.
“Do you eat fish?”
“Some vegetarians do.”
“That’s like saying some Buddhists worship Allah.”
“What about eggs?”
“Isn’t that a bit extreme?”
“Depends what you mean by extreme. That skirt you’re wearing, would you say that’s extreme?”
“Well, I wouldn’t wear it, not even for a bet. It’s too extreme for me.”
Actually, I only said the last bit in my head, but I still felt it counted.
I don’t think I’m an extremist. I certainly haven’t succumbed to the tarot cards and homemade tofu scene.
Actually that’s not true. Have to hold my hand up to the homemade tofu, sorry about that.
I didn’t want to do it. I had a conversation with myself.
“I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be one of those people who makes their own tofu.”
“Try it. Maybe you’ll like it.”
“If I do, I’ll be one of those people.”
“Try it anyway. It’ll be OK.”
“How do you know?”
“It’s in the tarot cards.”
Well, I don’t have to tell you I was nearly crying by now, but I forced myself to do it. I made the tofu.
And it was great.
I was devastated.