• Laurel Contributor

I’d Be Elliot

by Donna Rhodes

A lifetime of grappling with an Inconvenient Truth begins with the sudden appearance of an exquisite Red Snapper.

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

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