Friday, December 28, 2012

Fish are not animals

That's right.  I've come to the conclusion that, despite all that you have been taught in elementary school and the Discovery Channel, fish are not animals.

How did I arrive at such a conclusion?  Well, I am a vegetarian.  I have been one since I was about 13 years old.  I admit that while I was on my mission I had to sort of go with the flow.  My rule was that I would eat what was placed in front of me.  That wasn't always easy.  I had a few meals (for which I was very grateful, don't get me wrong) that reaffirmed my decision to go green (as it were).  But aside from that it's been a long time happily getting by with salads and various soy products.

Now, in the many years of being a vegetarian I have come to an amazing conclusion: I must be one of only perhaps two or three Mormon male vegetarians in Utah Valley.  I say that because if I tell someone that I don't eat meat they look at me with an absurd level of shock and bewilderment.  You can see it in their expressions.  Meeting a real, live vegetarian is like finding a unicorn.  Who knew they actually existed?

But invariably, as soon as the shock has worn off, they all (and with the exception of my wife, I really do mean all!) ask me the same question: "Do you eat fish?"  It's hysterical to me.  I almost just say it upfront now: "I'm a vegetarian, and no I don't eat fish."

Now, you've been told since you were a youngster in elementary school that there is no such things as a stupid question.  I don't think that that is totally correct. I have a suspicion that we just tell kids that so that they won't be afraid to ask questions.  But come on, there is such a thing as a stupid question.

I think the whole "Do you eat fish?" thing  definitely qualifies.  Think about it.  It's like if I were to say, "I don't like British pop music from the sixties."  "Oh, do you like the Beatles?"  Or, "I don't like American cars." "Oh, do you like Fords?"  Or perhaps, "I don't like fast food." "But you must like McDonalds?"
I could go on, but you get the idea.

Does anyone actually know what a vegetarian is?  The Oxford English Dictionary, which is pretty authoritative on such matters, says that a vegetarian is "a person who does not eat meat."  That's pretty definitive, isn't it?  Maybe the problem is that there are people who say that they are vegetarians, but really aren't.  I've heard of people claiming the title of vegetarian if they only abstain from red meat.  Or if they only eat chicken.  Come on!  That's not a vegetarian.  It's sort of an all-or-nothing thing.  You either are or you're not: that simple!  

Can you think of any other all-or-nothing things?  How about being pregnant?  You're never just sort of pregnant.   You're never just pregnant on the weekends.  You're pregnant, and that's that.

Maybe people think that I have just forgotten about fish?  I guess that's reasonable.  "Oh, I'm so glad you asked me that.  I thought for the last 14 years that I was a vegetarian.  But thanks to your highly original question, I guess I'm not.  Silly me, I'd totally forgotten about fish."

In any regards, if you disagree with my initial postulate and insist that fish are animals (and I have a nagging suspicion that they really are), then something is awry.   

So, if in the slim chance that you ever meet another vegetarian, take my advice: don't ask them if they eat fish!

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