Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An alphabet for disgruntled but ever-hopeful vegan activists…

This is a cynical alphabet (with little bits of hope tossed in) because sometimes it just sucks to be a vegan in an omnivorous world. You are frequently misunderstood and are often the token herbivore in mixed company. People make a sport of trying to find your inconsistencies, and if they can’t find any, you are accused of being “too perfect” and self-righteous. You go to the company holiday party and once again, you’ve got to poke around a boiled vegetable plate and look cheerfully oblivious while the others look at you in condescending sympathy. This alphabet is for those days, when nothing seems to go right, you just got word that your all-time favorite vegan restaurant is closing, the dull-eyed guy behind the counter can’t tell you what’s in the three grain salad and Ringling Brothers is coming to town. You know, that sort of day.

Most of the time, you are cheerful and pleasant and welcome any challenges with the enthusiasm of a bounding Labrador, but there are days when you’re just not up for it and you want to barricade yourself in your home with all your awesome vegan friends who understand you, a well-stocked kitchen and a bunch of great cookbooks. It will pass. Until it passes, though, this alphabet is for you.

A is for All the times you’ve been asked if you get enough protein or if your shoes are leather or if you can “just eat around it.”

B is for Being patient despite wanting to scream sometimes.

C is for Carrots and Celery and Cabbage, the components of a nourishing soup that will provide the warmth you need after a long day of handing out Why Vegans.

D is for “Duh, no, my shoes aren’t leather.”

E is for Excellent, as in your blood pressure, at least, is excellent.

F is for Faster-than-the-speed-of-light, which is the velocity at which the best vegan comestibles disappear at the monthly potluck.

G is for Garbanzo beans because you have eaten your weight in hummus several times over.

H is for Holidays and the wool gloves your mother buys you every year that you have to exchange.

I is for Insomnia, the secret weapon of the super-productive.

J is for Jackass, something you mutter under your breath when you have just had it.

K is for Koalas, because they’re darn cute and sometimes you just need to see a picture of one chewing on a eucalyptus leaf to feel better. K is also for Kucinich for pretty much the same reasons.

L is for “La la la la! I can’t hear you!” which is what people may as well just come out and say sometimes.

M is for Meat Is Murder, the song that first lit a spark.

N is for “Nah-Nope-No,” which is what you say when asked if you ever miss cheese, eggs or meat.

O is for "Oh my god, I can’t believe I used to eat that."

P is for Pasta, the vegan’s saving grace when traveling or dining out with omnivores.

Q is for Quit, which you'll never do, despite the occasional bad day.

R is for Rejoicing, which you do at the littlest victories: When you find a new cafĂ© with vegan pancakes, when you see a car with an anti-fur bumper sticker, when you find stylish, leather-free shoes and they’re not too expensive, either.

S is for Strident, at which your natural resting pulse is set and it is also for Skimming menus, which you could win an Olympic medal at, you are so nimble.

T is for Tofu, because it is common knowledge that you have it delivered by the semi-truckload weekly.

U is for Unfortunate example, which you probably were that first year or two, let’s be honest. We all were.

V is for Vegan, what more can we say?

W is for Wanker, the British version of a Jackass.

X is for Xerox, which you blinded your corneas with when creating your first ‘zine.

Y is for Yelp, the disgruntled vegan’s playground.

Z is for ZZZZ, the sound you make while you are off dreaming of the ultimate snappy comeback to that kid or co-worker or cousin who makes stupid little comments about what you eat every damn time you see him like it’s original or something.

Anyone have more words to add?


  1. Very nice, and educational too! You missed out the Q, so I'll add a double-Q one:
    Q is for *Quietly* crying when you realize that the elaborate and delicious chili you made with *Quorn* brand soy bits is not vegan because you belatedly checked the package and found out they have effing egg whites in them! Not that I'd know.

  2. R is for Respect, which omnivores claim to do re: veganism but is really code for, "You're batshit crazy and I don't want you near my dinner table."

    H is for Hell, where I told a coworker I didn't *really* believe he was going after he suffered a crisis of conscience and came to make sure I know that he's always just teasing and really does respect my lifestyle choices. (His joke at the holiday party was that my pasta salad was great with ham. Mine was that there's a special place in hell for him.)

  3. Thanks, Stantoro. You must have seen the first version of it, when I did indeed accidentally leave out "q" but thankfully had my husband and son look it over. I like your addition, though. It's surprising how often people think Quorn is vegan. Sneaky, sneaky product...

    Love it, VB.

  4. Another triumph in posting, dear Marla! Most clever! I loved them all, can relate to many of them, but I think "K" might be my favorite. Not for the koalas as much (though I adore them, of course, who wouldn't?) as for Kucinich, the only politician who keeps me from being a total cynic about politics. (From now on, I'm just going to write him in for President every election, whether he's running or not. And you for VP, it goes without saying). ;-)

  5. P.S. Your "C" soup sounds good! And if I may, I'd add "C" for "Compassion," along with two of my favorite quotes on that subject...

    "Render help and kindness wherever it is needed,
    to all life, great or small...
    Suffering has no boundaries ~ neither should compassion."

    "Compassion is a verb."
    ~Thich Nhat Hahn

  6. Never heard of Quorn or Kucinich but I did enjoy this alphabet. I have no vegan friends but most are supportive. I feel fortunate to be able to bring vegan food to social events and have friends who are interested in trying it. No point in preaching to the choir so I will continue to make my vegan food delicious and available.

  7. I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing, I'm definitely going to pass this around.

  8. Laloofah - thank you! I totally agree about Kucinich and to me it is just sad that he's not considered a viable candidate. I would love to be his VP but I think I've got waaaay too many skeletons in my closet (though as they were unearthed, it'd be funnier then heck). I love those quotes, especially the one by Thich Nhat Hahn: I repeat that to myself a lot.

    Fiendess, you are doing great outreach with your delicious vegan food, I'm sure. I'm thinking more and more that great food is our ultimate tool in the vegan movement: keep it coming!

    Thanks, VV, and I am loving your new website, by the way.

  9. A is for anaemia, which we are constantly accused of having no matter what our actual blood iron levels!

  10. Well now I'm definitely going to write you in for VP, Marla! Unearthing your funny closet-skeletons is an added motivation! :-D

  11. B is for BS, because they tell us that plants cannot possibly grow without it. Never mind vegan-organic growers who have disproved this!

  12. Great post!

    LOL, my mom gave me a wool scarf for Christmas :-o (And my veg husband a pair of leather gloves!)

    SO good to know we're NOT alone!

    Happy New Year :-)

  13. Thank you, Vanilla Rose. Lovely contributions!

  14. Thanks, Lagusta.

    Lisa, I think my mom bought me the same pair of wool gloves for live five years straight. She just really wanted me to have them, apparently. It is funny how universal some of this is. :)

  15. Priceless. That was so fun to read. :)


  16. You are very witty, Marla! Something that I am not. But I can certainly appreciate the talent in others! Thank you for sharing your vegan ABC's with me! I am really enjoying your blog! You have made me very happy today! :)


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