I’ve been a vegetarian since I was sixteen. I think it started when I bought my first 10,000 Maniacs cassette. (Yes, cassette. I’m old.) Natalie Merchant became my hero, and I wanted to be just like her. Which necessitated the nixing of meat.
Copying gave way to thinking for myself, and soon, I realized I agreed with her stance. It didn’t make sense that my dog was supposed to be my friend, while the cows and pigs I played with on my great-grandmother’s farm were supposed to be dinner. My first ten years of being a vegetarian were based on that— not eating stuff I could see myself snuggling.
As I got older and became more environmentally aware, my resolve was cemented. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get all political on you. You’re a smart person, and you know the score— the insane amount of energy it takes to raise a cow, the dangers of deforestation, the nasty runoff from “ranches”, yadda, yadda.
But all along, I kept eating fish. Not a ton of fish, mind you, but fish nonetheless. It was my fallback food. Something to order when the veggie option was either boring or non-existant. And frankly, I enjoy fish. Like my favorite ceviche at La Bodeguita del Medio in Puerto Vallarta. It’s Tangy/Spicy/Hot like TLC is Crazy/Sexy/Cool. Perfect for a sunny afternoon spent overlooking the Bay of Banderas.
The whole ocean depletion thing, however, is forcing me to rethink my position. How can I enjoy a seared ahi steak when I’m faced with the fact that soon, there ain’t gonna be any ahi to sear? When the oceans go, we are seriously, seriously fucked, people. Plan accordingly.
I’m not trying to get all preachy. (Though given the opportunity, I’ll give you more than an earful on the sorry state of the world.) Rather, I’m writing to hold myself accountable. I’m reminding myself to try harder. If there’s not a decent vegetarian option on the menu, I’m going to ask for one.
If I don’t walk my talk, who will?