It’s (by “it’s,” I mean hatred and violence) everywhere.
And it’s (same definition) not just today; it’s (you know the drill) been doing on since human learned to walk upright and use our free arms to pick up things to use as weapons against each other.
Let’s face it, we have mean streaks coursing through us. Sure, some of have teeny weeny trickles and others have raging rivers; most have mean streaks falling somewhere between the two extremes.
Get enough people together–and it doesn’t take many–with the wider mean streaks who believe with all their hearts that they’re right and the people who are “wrong” need some fixing, and you’ve got trouble with a capital T.
I’ll give you a little example.
I attended a wedding. If people can’t all get along at a small wedding, what hope do we have for the world? (This is a rhetorical question, although the answer is zerofinity.)
My niece got married. The venue was her back yard–a small, lovely setting. The guests numbered no more than 30 or so family and friends.
Basically it was a relaxed summer afternoon party.
Everything was going great until the grill was fired up. Until then, the guests imbibed in beer and wine–some more than others.
One family friend of my niece’s father stationed himself at the grill.
I thought, “How nice. He’s helping out so family won’t have to do the grilling of the obligatory flesh.” (This is how vegans think–we’re kind and refer to former live beings now used for food as “flesh.”)
The first thing on the grill were homemade veggie burgers. My sister, Tina, is a master at making veggie burgers for her sisters and others who are either vegan or vegetarian. She’s a doll.
Tina: “Just put these on the grill to warm them up. They’re already cooked.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “What’re they?” (Assume he’s slurring some of his words.)
Tina: “Veggie Burgers.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “What? Sissy Burgers?” (Laughing hysterically at his lame wit)
Tina: “Hey! I made them myself and they’re delicious. Just make sure they don’t touch any meat.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “Yessir!” (Muttering. He works with her husband, who was standing there, and didn’t want to push it.)
Things took a turn for the worse when I got there, wanting a warmed up veggie burger.
Me: “I’ll take one of those, please.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “You want a Sissy burger? Whatsa matter with you? Can’t handle a real burger?”
Me: “No. I just want a veggie burger. Please.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “Oh, yeah. I remember. You’re one of those wimpy vege-whatchamacallits. Don’t you know not eatin’ meat’ll kill you?”
Here’s where I made a fatal error. I tried to correct him. I tried to use logic. On a drunken man who loves to argue.
Me: “Actually, vegetarians are generally much healthier than people who eat meat and dairy every day.”
Shnockered Grill Dude: “Not you. You’re sick all the time. If you ate meat, maybe you wouldn’t be so sick.”
Total below-the-belt punch and I felt it. Here’s where I made another fatal error. Can you make two fatal errors in one encounter? Apparently I can.
Me: (after stalling a bit from shock) “I’m not sick all the time. Look at me. Do I look sick to you?” (I looked and felt great that day.) But I was clearly defensive. I could have been offensive and had a snarky comeback like, “When did you have the time to go to medical school?” But that’s just not me.
Shnockered Grill Dude: (Changing the subject because I had him beat on that point) “Cows like to be eaten.” He took a big swig of beer.
Me: I just stared up at him. He’s 6’4” and a construction worker. A feisty comeback could have been, “Wow, I feel privileged to be in the presence of a Bovine Whisperer.” No. not me.
Shnockered Grill Dude: “I grew up on a farm and I just know that you raise cows…well, steers, for slaughter. It’s just the way of things. Plus everybody needs protein, and people who don’t eat meat don’t get enough protein. I saw a football player and golfer who went veg and they just lost their edge. It was pitiful. No energy.” If I could’ve remembered runner Carl Lewis, football’s Joe Namath, tennis players Martina Navratilova or Billie Jean King, or Iron Man World Champ Dave Scott–all famous vegetarian athletes, I might have offered them up to counter his no-name athletes who supposedly spun into oblivion without their prime rib. But I didn’t.
I know the science behind plant-based protein and the fact that most Americans get too much, not too little, protein. But I just couldn’t stay in this insane conversation. I wanted to eat Tina’s delicious veggie burger and get the heck away from this insipid, loopy, grill oaf.
Me: “Can I please have a veggie burger. I’ll take my chances.”
After many attempts to divert the conversation and even after a sincere hug to try to end the battle, he still needled me–a hyena enjoying the easy kill.
The most interesting thing about the encounter is that, a few days after, I spoke with my sister and her husband about what happened and how I felt (he’s their friend).
They said “Your problem was that you showed weakness and he took advantage of that…plus he was drunk. It’s just him being him.”
So it’s my fault I wanted a veggie burger and got attacked?
Is it any wonder that all around the world people who don’t even know each other want to kill each other? A man I know went all verbal storm-trooper on my Buddhist butt over a harmless veggie burger.