In our first term at Oxford, we may all have undergone changes that we didn’t expect ourselves to be capable of. For me, I did something I never imagined would be possible without serious obstacles three times a day: befriend a vegetarian.
I think of him on Sundays, while every pub and every home in Great Britain radiates with the unmistakeable perfume of pork crackling, roast chicken or lardy potatoes, and I thank the high heavens that I have not allowed the guilt of dying animals to burden me with vegetarianism. Likewise, in summertime I have nothing but sympathy for the cowering herbivores that hover in the corner of a garden-party barbecue. Instead I take a moment to congratulate myself again for refusing to surrender to the animal-loving seven year old that I once was, and gleefully chow down my third sausage and burger sandwich.
And it’s this very situation that confuses and stumps me every May. While the entire nation is cooking on coals the minute the weather permits this novelty to be acceptable, vegetarians are quaking in their non-leather boots as they are exiled from the savage feast and tremble back to the crudités and salad stand, furiously checking if there’s gelatine in the guacamole.Well, perhaps they aren’t all the shrunken frail waifs that I’m illustrating. In fact most would probably be over the moon with a Quorn hot dog to shadow their vacuous meat-gut, but why you’d make a decision not to eat meat and instead favour a pitiful processed counterfeit, is beyond me and frankly, fraudulent.
At the risk of hypocrisy, I also deeply resent their preaching. All of them. The life-long veggie, who grew up in a solar powered mud-hut and ate nothing but organic cabbage is no worse than the week-long fad dieter who’s trying it out for a bet. Each one of them has convinced themselves that they are on the path to righteousness and exemplary health, and most of them are of the opinion that they might seize me as a convert. Well, they can try.
In fact one did last night, spurred on by shots of Dutch courage. Embarrassingly, at the time they seemed convincing and I’m pretty sure I promised to try it for a day. But now we’re both hungover, and while they may be bedridden with a piece of dry toast and green tea, I’m getting to the end of my bacon-double-decker and feeling better than ever. Ha! Who’s healthy now? Once again I’m feeling very smug with my (a)morality.