I’d Be Elliot
by Donna Rhodes
When I was four, my mother brought home a beautiful Red Snapper and slammed it on the countertop with a thunk. It was exquisite … red and silver scales like tiny over-lapping coins, a magical beast with a tail worthy of a mermaid.
As I puzzled how it was going to swim without any water, my mom, my Freddie Kruger of a mother, brandished a knife. I screamed.
“What’s the matter?” she asked.
“What are you doing?” I cried.
“I’m going to filet it and cook it for supper.”
“But it’s got a head on it!” I protested.
“Yes …” my mother said hesitantly.
I thought quick and hard, then asked, “Does a hamburger have a head on it?”
“Sure. It comes from a cow,” Mother said.
I had my first big epiphany. We had been eating living things. Things with heads. Things that could think. Things that probably had feelings.
Terrified, I wondered, “What next? Will we be eating bunnies and chicks?”
So I declared a strike for a week and went meatless. But a trip to a restaurant that served buttery hamburger deliciousness was too much to bear, so I caved and washed everything down with a chaser of black bottom pie. Strike ended.
After a lifetime battle of to-meat-or-not-to-meat, I finally conceded to giving up four-leggers over a decade ago.
I still wonder though: Is it animal abuse to kill and eat them? I asked my 11-year-old grandson, Elliot, his opinion and he said, “While I am passionate about eliminating animal abuse, especially against dogs, cats, and hamsters, cows are not an endangered species. And they fart methane. So I believe it’s okay to eat hamburgers and stop all the farting.”
There you have it straight from the mind of a visionary. Oh, to be 11, when things were simple. Wait a sec. At four I was already a mental wreck. If I could do it all again, I’d be