Dear Chronology: Fuck You
Neither of these motherfuckers is me. But I personally believe I favor Sam Jackson.
This memoir will not be chronological. I don’t think chronologically, and neither do most people, actually. If Quentin Tarantino has taught us anything, it’s that it is okay to jump backwards and forwards in the story. Sure, you may get lost for a second, but pretty soon something really funny or hyper-violent is going to happen which will grab your attention. Just like real life. So fuck it. This is about the time I was in a relationship with a vegan.
Now, in order not to offend any vegans, let me say this up front: MEAT. IS. AWESOME!!! So, now that the vegans are gone, I’ll continue.
Here’s what I learned from dating a vegan: if you are not yourself a vegan, don’t date one. Because dating a vegan is, in my mind, a lot like it would be dating a Nazi, just with less regard for hygiene. She was cute, had a sharp wit, and was for some strange reason attracted to me. (Not strange. I made her laugh. There you go.) The first time she told me she was a vegan and I asked what that meant, she explained that she didn’t eat any kind of animal protein, nor use products produced by or from animals. “So, you’re like a vegetarian?” I innocently asked.
Her response should have been my first clue that the relationship was not going to last. Her voice dropped down from a natural soprano to a bass so low it was nearly beyond the range of human hearing. Like if Barry White and Darth Vader had conceived a child. Her blue eyes turned completely black, and I swear on my life she sprouted these small goat horns on her forehead. The sky clouded over, and her reply of “We are NOT vegetarians!” was accompanied by an unnaturally long peal of thunder. Just as quickly, everything went back to normal and she was cute and blue-eyed again. But in literature, we would call that episode foreshadowing.
I’ve always had something of a “live and let live” attitude about most people’s lifestyles and personal choices. As long as what you’re doing or believing isn’t intentionally hurting somebody else, and as long as you don’t try to force feed it to me, then we’re cool. Be straight, be gay, be ultra-conservative or super-liberal, or somewhere in between, be pro-gun, pro-choice, anti-nuke, green, pink, whatever. I may not agree with you, but we can sit down over a beer or a glass of wine or a cocktail and talk, like people used to do before Facebook and Twitter and Snap Chat fucked up that kind of social networking for everybody. (I just this second realized there might actually be a group of people of whom I am intolerant – people who don’t drink. I’m NOT talking about recovering alcoholics. I mean people who just don’t drink. Why in the hell, unless you are one hundred percent certain that you have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, would you NOT drink? Drinking is awesome. Still, I vow right here and now to try and find common ground with those people, because that's just the kind of person I am.)
The problem with my vegan girlfriend was that she was completely intolerant of anyone and anything that did not fit in with her lifestyle. I don’t mean “annoyingly” intolerant. I mean “Westboro Baptist Church” intolerant. Going out to dinner with her was like volunteering to sit as an audience of one for a two-hour diatribe on my entrée choice. “Have you ever seen an industrial beef plant?” “Do you know they immobilize calves for their whole lives to make veal?” “Do you have any idea how many growth hormones and steroids are used in commercial chicken?” “Have you ever heard a lobster scream in pain?”
It didn’t stop with the food I was eating. “Proud of that leather jacket? Killing a cow is just as bad as murdering a person.” “People who wear fur are just evil.” “Are those chess pieces made of ivory? Why don’t you just hang the elephant’s head above the door?”
I wish that every person in the world had the capability of being completely honest on the first date. Completely. Including me. I wish I’d had the courage to say, “Hey, I’m Larry. My dad committed suicide when I was thirteen and my mom is an alcoholic, so I have some real anger and abandonment issues. Also, I like steak, science-fiction novels and edgy standup comedy.” Do you see how liberating that would be for both parties?
I wish my first date with the vegan had gone something like, “Hey, I’m a vegan, and an animal rights activist. I like obscure eighteenth century literature, and also I’m completely fucking insane.” Because armed with honesty, I could have set the expectations for the entire evening. I could have responded, “Well, hey, great. Here’s what we’re gonna do on our date. First, I’m going to take you to this great Indian restaurant that specializes in vegetarian dishes. After that we’ll hit this independent bookstore I think you might like, then we’ll drive over to the SPCA and play with some puppies. And at the end of the evening, I’ll drive slowly past your house, push you out of the car, burn rubber out of there and never fucking see you again. Let’s go!”
She used to watch me sleep. This creeped me out more than her extremist vegetable worldview. You know how you’ll just be lying in bed at night, and that inner sense of self-preservation screams at you to wake up right now? I’d open my eyes, and she’d be sitting up in the bed. Watching me. Not watching me in a “this-is-the-man-I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with” kind of way. It was more like a “maybe-tonight-is-a-good-night-for-a-murder-suicide” kind of way.
Ultimately, I don’t think it was our differences of opinion over the consumption of animal
protein that caused us to break up. I think that, more likely, the breakup might have been
caused when she caught me in bed with another woman. Actually, I don’t think even that was it. But I do think the large bag of Ultimate Cheeseburgers from Jack In The Box on the nightstand next to where I was having sex with another woman might have been the last straw. I’ll never know for sure. I only know to stay away from vegans.
Next week, Chapter Three: Farm Life, The Switch, and Psychological Torture