Every year at Thanksgiving, my family is reminded of an ancient, dark secret. For the past four years, I've been a vegetarian. It always goes something like this.
Family: "Here, Johnathan, you must try some of this Turducken-VealApe."
Me: "Thanks, but I try not to eat things whose combined IQs exceed my own."
Family: "Well in that case, have a single teaspoon of the mashed potatoes."
Ouch. Thanks, based-on-a-true-story family. Really, though, I spend a lot of my Thanksgiving answering questions about what exactly is wrong with my brain that I don't eat meat. So I thought to myself, "How can I preemptively answer these questions while printing out hundreds of copies for free?"
Q: "What exactly is wrong with your brain that you don't eat meat?"
A: "I was born with a meat loving deficiency in my central deliciousness gland."
Q: "Why did you go vegetarian? Were you bitten by another vegetarian and rose from your grave, determined to feast upon the juices of the non-living?"
A: Wow, your version sounds way cooler than mine. Actually, I just took a trip to the humane society and felt really bad for the animals there, and then felt stupid going home and sizzling up a hunk of something just as smart as a dog or cat.
Q: "What about chickens? Chickens are really stupid. I once saw a chicken get stuck in a corner."
A: "How stupid does something have to be before it's edible? I've been in some conversations with some really horrible people I would've killed just to get out of, if you catch my drift. Seriously. People are delicious. Freshly caught."
Q: "Alright Mr. Smarty Pants, if you don't eat meat, where do you get protein, amino acids, iron, stars, horseshoes, clovers and blue moons?"
A: "It turns out that animals got 'em from somewhere too. See, let me explain to you how the food chain works. Way at the top is us, because if any animal has a problem with being eaten, we'll nuke them straight to the fiery depths. Then come things like lions, sharks and zombies. After that comes plankton and cheese. We can skip a lot of the middle men/undead by jumping right to sweet, sweet plankton.
Q: "You eat eggs and drink milk? I thought vegetarians didn't do that?"
A: "That's a vegan, our scary cousins. Vegetarians just don't eat things that would've directly objected to the process. Sadly, this precludes cannibalism."
Q: "How do you know vegetables don't feel pain? Or that cheese doesn't weep for its fallen?"
A: "I hope it does. I really hate vegetables, and I enjoy imagining the suffering I'm causing them."
That covers the most frequently articulated queries. It's a fine holiday, and I like the fact that it inspires my family to give me free food. Oh, and togetherness and appreciating what you have and all that other sappy stuff. But really, just let me eat my potatoes in peace and be thankful I'm leaving more turkey for the rest of you.
Johnathan Kastner is a Senior English major. His column runs every Thursday in Opinion Section. He doesn't hate vegetables and isn't really advocating cannibalism. Probably.