Being on the Outside of Mainstream – Thankfully
By Linden Mackey, Guest Contributor
[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”1px” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap] work in the risk management department of a large grocery store chain. It’s an office job, mostly about placing insurance to protect the corporation’s assets, and doesn’t have anything to do with the procurement and retail operations – but it bothers me more and more that I work for a company that promotes, produces, and sells dead animals.
A few days ago, I joined a couple of our marketing guys to meet a potential new local vendor who makes some fantastic BBQ sauce. I’m not too interested in BBQ sauce these days, its primary use to slather on dead cows and pigs – but, being the self-acclaimed Condiment Queen, I can still find uses for it.
After introductions, the husband/wife proprietors of the business suggested we go back to their smoke room and try the sauce on flank steak, meatballs, and pulled pork that they had cooked up. It was the first time that my choices and convictions have arisen in the course of my job, even in a minor way. “I don’t eat meat,” I explained, “I’m vegan.”
“Oh – well, it also tastes great on Brie,” the wife helpfully offered.
“No, I don’t eat any animal products – I’m vegan,” I reiterated. “But I could maybe try just a taste on a spoon.”
Outside the Mainstream
It occurred to me as I watched my co-workers eat slabs and shredded animals, all smothered in sauce and piled on rounds of bread, exclaiming how tasty everything was, listening to their plans of how best to promote and expand this product, how very outside the mainstream I have fallen.
Standing up for what I believe outside of my personal life, even in relatively benign circumstances, was easier to do than I once would have thought. It may be my imagination – but just even saying the words: “I don’t eat meat,” was mildly revolutionary in this gathering of grilled meat/BBQ eaters. I am always amazed at how just those four words can make people pause for just a moment.
They have never even thought of it before, and perhaps never encountered a ‘real vegan’. And people find ways to dismiss it easily, eager to move onto something else. What a weirdo, she’s from Berkeley, o.k. we’re in California, whaddya expect?
But it’s still there in just that split second, the fleeting ghost of recognition that flits across their eyes as they drop their lids – they know it’s wrong. Everybody knows. It’s just that no one wants to change. It would mean re-examining everything one has done around food, both consciously and unconsciously, and going in a different direction entirely, one without nearly as many companions, traveling along a straight and narrow path – one without compromise, but one that with each bite, makes a difference for an animal that would be suffering needlessly in the most horrifying of manners for a human being’s pleasure.
I can’t think of a more elementally moral choice than choosing to not eat animals.
Photo credit: Christomer Schmitt