Not too long ago, I had the pleasure -- and I say so with crossed fingers --
of opening my door to a couple of old friends travelling in this part of the
universe. They were a couple, and we were a couple, and wouldn't it be great if
they could save some money on hotel accommodations.
We exchanged pleasantries and discussed the weather like meteorologists before the conversation turned to eating. It was time for dinner and, yea, the crux of my tale.
You see, our houseguests were vegetarians. Not just any vegetarians, but vegans. Vege-nazis. They were opposed not only to the consumption of meat but to a scroll of other foods including anything you might find in a normal supermarket. They had even considered boycotting broccoli when they discovered that it has a rudimentary central nervous system.
I myself am a meatatarian. I salivate at the sight of small animals when I haven't had a good steak in a while. The dog next door is first on my list if ever I get so desperate.
Our guests knew the precise content of every morsel in the kitchen. It was like having two culinary Cliff Clavens analyze our guts. Being a fan of debate, I challenged my guests' opinion that we are what we eat. I believe that we are what we meant to be -- that is, what we think. Yes, they countered, but we don't have the opportunity to think without a body to house our mind. Ah, very clever, my seaweed-eating friends, but what's the point in having a healthy body if its brain can think of nothing more than how much polyunsaturated fat is in a piece of bread.
Being a vegan is rather simple, actually. It just means that you can't eat anything inside someone else's house. My wife took the female Claven to the health food store for hay and soybean extract, while I stayed home with the other. I quickly found out that he didn't like sports, which made me nervous. My grandpa always said, "Never trust a man who doesn't drink or follow sports." It made sense.
As the minutes dribbled on, we talked about his child and his child and then about his child. From all accounts, that boy was growing quickly. Which is funny because I've never heard a parent say that about his child. I seized the opportunity to grab a quick bite, knowing that I wouldn't be hungry for health food later. Or ever.
I reached into the freezer for a White Castle burger when I remembered our company. I didn't want them to brandish a picture of dead cows or something, so I opted for a grilled cheese sandwich instead. Cheese was okay, I supposed, because they had to keep the cow alive to make it. I was probably saving a cow.
As I prepared my victuals, I felt the eyes of my houseguest on me. He was analyzing my food, crunching numbers to determine its content, visualizing the arteries in my body. He wrenched his neck to see what I was spraying.
"Watcha makin' there?" asked the food voyeur.
"Grilled cheese sandwich and chips," I said.
"I see that you bought those Olean chips."
"Yes, it seems that I have."
"Did you know that Olean isn't even a food. Our body doesn't know how to digest it. That's why it causes cramping and loose stool syndrome."
Which did wonders for my appetite. I passed our guest with my stool-loosening chips and grilled fat sandwich en route to the living room. He nearly broke his neck for a better look at my plate.
Sitting down at the table, I added, "And yes, I grilled my sandwich with I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter spray."
The women returned home shortly with a bag of flora. Our lady guest wielded a special knife and frying pan that she carried with her. They must have been approved by the ANHF (Association of Neurotics and Health Freaks). Some people carry a wallet; others carry a purse or calculator. This lady came with cooking utensils. Minutes later, our home was filled with the foulest odor that I ever sucked through my nostrils, a stench that lingers in our curtains to this day. And every time I catch a whiff, I am compelled to form the following conclusions.
There must come a point where we draw the line between being conscious about what we eat and being obsessed with it. It is one thing to choose wholesome foods and another to travel with your own cutlery. Since my guests went about their vegan way, it has become my goal to avoid anyone who analyzes the food on my plate. I don't want them as friends, family, or neighbors at a restaurant. That doesn't mean I condemn their lifestyle. I hope my houseguests obtain their goal of living forever. May their urine always smell of soy extract. For me, it's not the quantity of years in my life, but the quality of life in my years, and I'd rather not prolong an existence that precludes chocolate and red meat.