A sweet friend loaned me a book on tape by David Duchovny, former heart-throb on The X Files, called Holy Cow! Duchovny reads the book himself in that same droll voice he used when lecturing Scully about her skepticism around extraterrestrial life. I’m sure that Scully got tired of getting lectured and demeaned by her partner, who was very much a fanatic about the Truth being Out There. I, too, became irritated with Duchovny as he shifted from spritely story-teller to lecturer. This new book vacillates between being a cute book for kids about the friendship between two cows on a farm to a polemic on the inhumanity of humankind based on the consumption of meat.
I began to get confused about the intended audience for this merry tale when the two cows break out of their pen in order to get friendly with the bulls. After the escape, Elsie, the main character, heads back to the farmhouse to find something to break the lock on the bull pen and happens to look though the window of the farmhouse to observe the family glazed-eyed in front of the television set, which Elsie deems a god. The family is watching a show revealing the brutal slaughter of cattle and the uses to which leather is put. It then shows the bloody cow flesh being transformed into hamburger. Duchovny goes into such gruesome detail about the slaughter that even I, a person who eats meat, felt nauseated and had to fast forward the CD. He then beats a dead horse by talking about how barbaric humans are both by eating meat and by wearing leather. I fast-forwarded three times and he was still stuck on the same topic.
I felt sorry for any child who had to read this book or listen to it read on CD, as I was queasy for the rest of the day. Later I learned, as I skipped ahead, that Mallory, Elsie’s friend, had the time of her life with the bulls and was now knocked up. He personifies the cows to such an extent that I blushed as Maisie described her evening with the bulls. TMI. Sure this cow was starry-eyed and grinning after being raped by two bulls. Really?
All this was in anticipation of the arrival of our family members from Indiana. As you probably already know, Ron who represents Northern Indiana is an advocate for heavy meat consumption and avoidance of anything green. Except green jello, which he insists is the greatest base for salad. Apparently that same dietary preference is true for everyone in the Midwest.
Last summer when we gathered with the kids and grandkids from the Midwest at Lake Lure, I was asked to bring steaks. I lugged a huge number of thick steaks to the vacation house anticipating several meals coming out of this cooler-full. Instead I watched astonished as each family member consumed his or her own huge slab of meat. Fruit and vegetables, not so much. Andrew, our grandson informed me that the only fruit he eats is apple pie.
Trudy and Mary Jo from Elkhart, Indiana, were to arrive last night, so I turned off the CD and headed to Artisan for hunks of steak. Still queasy from the Holy Cow CD, I felt a little guilty for purchasing these thick steaks, but they were a hit with the Midwesterners. I too ate some, as it was tender and tasty, but it wasn’t as yummy as it might have been.
I was a vegetarian for thirty years until I started experiencing some stomach problems. I went to a hippie Naturepath in Charlotte who looked at me and said, “You look like a vegetarian.”
I responded, “Thank you!”
And she said, “That wasn’t a compliment. You look puny and pale. What’s wrong with you? Eat some meat!”
Sure enough I started including meat in my diet and I felt better. What I don’t need is some droll storyteller reminding me of why I had become a vegetarian in the first place.