Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Fifth Annual Disgruntled Alphabet for Vegans

Ah, the annual chance to get it all out of my system so I can be the shiny, happy vegan you all know and love for the rest of the year. Oh, there’s only a couple of weeks left in the year? Well, that’s better than nothing. I love being vegan, please don’t misunderstand, but people, sigh, people will make you a little nutty sometimes. Let’s get to it, shall we?

A is for Angry, because if I am vegan, is necessarily follows that I am angry. Right? While knowing about the unnecessary mass slaughter of sensitive beings for no reason other than satisfying a temporary pleasure doesn’t exactly make me feel like skipping through a meadow like I am in a feminine hygiene commercial circa 1977, I think characterizing  vegans as universally “angry” is a little simplistic and reductive. We’re happy, sad, irritated, exuberant and, yes, angry at times. You know...human.

B is for “But can’t you just eat around the turkey bits in the stuffing? Oh, and you don’t eat chicken broth either? I give up. You really are impossible.”

C is for the Cold boiled vegetables with some squiggle of green (liquified grass?) that is apparently the standard vegan plate at the catered office holiday party. You will find us by our desk scarfing our ProFit bars and locating the best decent post-meal meal via the handy HappyCow app.

D is for Despite possessing neither a central nervous system nor a brain, exhibiting no obvious or even subtle signs of suffering, there are still going to be people who assert that “plants feel pain”? And somehow they are still be able to tie their shoes in the morning? That’s actually kind of impressive. 

E is for Effing leave me alone about the new sausage-of-the-month club you just joined. What part of my “Ask Me Why I’m Vegan” button makes you think I want to hear about something called freaking blutworst? And, oh, yeah - thanks for compelling us to Google that grotesqueness.

F is for Former vegans, often meaning someone who, curiously, was never vegan or was between breakfast and their mid-morning snack one day in 1996, but is still taken as the final word of authority on Why Veganism Doesn’t Work. Guess what: I am a failed omnivore. I just couldn’t keep doing it; it was too gross. I didn’t feel well. ‘Kay?

G is for Guilt, in that, when someone is grasping at every possible random excuse at his or her disposal for eating animals (“Plants-feel-pain-animals-kill-other-animals-I-honor-the-animals-like-the-Native-Americans-what-about-the-Inuit-it-is-part-of-the-cycle-of-life-and-death-Hitler-was-a-vegetarian-oh-he-wasn’t-well-I-don’t-really-care-vegans-are-still-meanies”), couldn’t guilt just be admitted to so we can both move on?

H is for Humane meat. How can babies be taken from their mothers humanely? How can females be forcibly impregnated, males be castrated without anesthesia, and so on? How can a knife sever the jugular vein in a humane fashion? You can gussy up the fairy tale scenario however you like - the animals can dine on fields of organic, tender mesclun mix, they can enjoy massages while Michael Pollan reads them selections from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, they can frolic in the flowers like Bambi and Thumper all the live-long day - if they are being killed for unnecessary food, it ain’t humane. Why is this so hard to understand? 

I is for If you eat that tuna fish sandwich at your desk in the same office as me again, it is my right to open the window, pinch my nose while gagging and wave a folder to disperse the air and, no, I am not being passive-aggressive. It really is that putrid.

J is for Joel Salatin, the “rebel/hero” of the organic meat community, the farmer who was seen serenely slitting a chicken’s presumably grateful throat in “Food, Inc.,” and who honestly tried to argue that mitochondria and bacteria have the same capacity to feel and suffer as animals: this is the best you’ve got, humane meat world? This is your best and your brightest? Oy vey. Please get it through your head that diversionary tactics aimed at exposing us as hypocrites and attempting to minimize our sincere efforts at harm reduction remains just that: obvious diversionary tactics. (By the way, his ass was handed to him in that debate.)

K is for Kid, in that you can kid me about eating sticks and leaves but the second I mention the words “ovum” and “carcasses,” you get upset. Sure, that seems fair.

L is for Let me get this right: In order to "prove" that vegans are hypocrites, I am supposed to accept your hypothetical scenarios about being stranded on a deserted island and speculation that plants experience pain but you can’t even visit the reality we live in? Oh, yes. That seems reasonable. I hope you’re happy in your special fairytale land. Ohhh, look! A sparkly unicorn!

M is for Maintaining my enviable blood pressure despite society’s best attempts to make me irate because I’m vegan, man. At least I’ve got that.

N is for Nutritional yeast, which we have to say when we are asked by the repair person at the Apple store about what all that flaky yellow powder is under our keyboard.

O is for Omm...I'm effing serene, damn it.

P is for the Personal choice to eat animals, spoken by those who defend their consumption habits with the same air of conviction as Clarence Darrow in a courtroom, but, somehow, not realizing that their right to impose a “personal choice” requiring the suffering and/or death of another is not ethically sound. Does a mugger have a “personal choice” to relieve a victim or his or her wallet because he really wants that wallet? Does an arsonist have a “personal choice” to set buildings on fire because he really enjoys that activity? No. Stop using this stupid phrase, seriously. It is the fingernails on the chalkboard of my soul and it doesn’t make you sound smart. 

Q is for Quirky, in that, I know I’m strange but there’s something about eating a corpse that no longer appeals to me. I know! Quirky!

R is for the Recipe for eggs and bacon that I didn’t ask to hear but you still felt compelled to tell me about anyway in nauseating detail. Why???

S is for Salad because that’s all we eat, right? And, oh yes, Snark, because some of us gorge on a big bowl of that every day, too.  

is for the Take-out that you forgot to check before you left the restaurant and now you are hungry and you have just opened a container of pad Thai with chicken and eggs and you will have a wait 45 minutes before you can get the right one and you should have just cooked dinner and the guy on the phone repeated back the order and why does the world have to be so stupid??

U is for Ugh because sometimes, just ugh.

V is for Vegetarian: is anyone really one of those anymore? 

W is for Water, in that, yes, sure, I’ll be perfectly content just nursing that glass of water at the annual dinner out with the extended family. I was thinking about fasting anyway, I may as well start now when everyone else is eating their dinner. You mean I can have some iceberg lettuce with lemon, too?! Wow, you really went out of your way to make me feel welcomed. Thank you.

X is for the X I am marking on my calendar for the days until I can justify drinking chocolate mint nog season starts again as a seasonal mood improvement aid. (It starts the week before Thanksgiving).

Y is for Yes, I’d love for you to tell me the story of the one lady you know who’s second cousin got married to someone whose childhood babysitter was vegan and she got really sick, her hair fell out and she died of veganism. Because that sounds very legit. 

Z is for zoning out. Can you blame us?

All better! Onward until next year's disgruntled alphabet!


  1. LOVE it!!! Thanks for this :)

  2. I'm joining in Abby's applause. This is perfect and cathartic. Thank you!

  3. Amazing! Love it :) You brought a smile to my face.

  4. Effing serene here, too! Love this.

  5. D is for Dayum, you're clever, with your Dangling participle that slyly Disses.

    F is for Faithful Fan of your Funny satire, which is what I am (thank you for this Flashback to your 2010 Failed Omnivore post— "I just couldn't keep doing it; it was too gross. I didn't feel well.")

    And P is for Precisely, which is what I thought after reading this: "Stop using this stupid phrase ['personal choice']...It is the fingernails on the chalkboard of my soul..."

    You have my love, adoration, and gratitude.

  6. You've outdone yourself (again) Marla! Love it!!!

  7. Thank you, Jennifer. You truly made my day.


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