People are Strange

Someone I know was sitting in her office when a coworker walked by.  Coworker waves a bag of deer jerky and asks it she wants to eat Bambi.  She said no and the coworker left.  This someone is vegan and this kind of thing happens to her pretty regularly.  She never brings up her choices unless asked.  When asked, she doesn’t preach.  She’s professional.

We’ve long wondered why being a vegan brings out the worst in some people.  Luckily a few but those few can spoil a day or even a work environment.    Must be that we make them uncomfortable.  Thing is we don’t mean to.  We sincerely wish we didn’t (but not enough to pitch it all just to fit in).

Would she benefit from having a response at the ready?  If so, what would that response be?  Can we brainstorm?  Here’s what I have so far.

1.  You are not the first one to kid me about my beliefs.  I never know what to say but it always hurts.

2.  I’ve been a vegan for 14 years and I’ve heard it all.  Frankly, I’m tired of it.  Please stop.

3.  I don’t kid you about your diet.  Please don’t kid me about mine.

4.  My dog taught me to love all animals.  Who taught you to be an a-hole?

Number four is obviously a joke but it felt so good to write it.  Like any of the others?  Think any are inappropriate for the work place?  Have others?  Please share. photo

Be kind out there, ‘kay?

p.s.  Something upbeat?  Sure!  See this.  Hmmm.

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24 responses to “People are Strange

  1. most likely if you have eaten meat all your life they don’t care or don’t have the will to change. love you

  2. I have a co-worker who I’ve told MANY times that I’m a vegan and he still is always offering me meat and dairy products. I can’t figure out if he is forgetful or spiteful. I just assume he is forgetful and give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • Happy Friday! Your approach is the right one. Fred Rogers would be proud. Thanks for stopping by and the support.

    • Sounds like it could be spite, but if he is merely forgetful, you should also consider that he’s showing kindness in his offer to share. (His behavior in other situations would normally indicate his position on the kindness/spite continuum, right?)

      Also, his forgetfulness may not be about your status as a vegan, but rather ignorance of precisely what veganism includes — and excludes. Obviously, omnivores tend not to classify as rigorously by *type* what they consider “food”.

      Along those lines, I think I once offered eggs to our host Randy, being ignorant (or at least forgetful) of its exclusion by those of the vegan persuasion. As is his nature, he declined in gracious manner, and I felt no embarrassment about my ignorance.

      • Yes sir. Your points are well taken. If I forget to say no eggs when I order fried rice, I eat the fried rice. Then I try harder to remember. I have become more relaxed about the whole thing over the years. Not proud of that. Work to correct that. But it is true.

  3. She can keep samples of chicken poop and cow poop in her desk. Then when she sees the fellow eating, she can put some near his food.

    He’ll say, “What the heck is that.”
    She’ll say, “It’s ____ poop.”
    He’ll say, “Well get it out of here I’m eating.”
    She’ll say, “Don’t worry about it, you’ve been eating it all your life.”

    Then she’ll drop the mic and walk off stage. If she really wants to hammer the message home, when she gets back to her desk, she can email a story about E. coli O157:H7 or salmonella and how much poop there is in the meat supply.

    • Thank you. Very sweet of you to offer up an idea. And I like it. Too bad that if we tried it we’d be put away for culinary terrorism. Even without implementation, the laugh it brought out helps. I’ll pass your note along to the victim. Take care.

  4. Stupid Flanders!

    Vegans are not alone in suffering this sort of treatment, of course. But what a strange thing to persecute someone for. Well, maybe not … dietary customs have always delineated cultural divides. (Somehow the food thing never separated the collective Us in my experience working in Silicon Valley.)

    I was thinking yesterday that trends are hydrodynamical. People (H2O molecules) on the leading edge are repelled by the bow-wave idea of your ship until it passes and then they’re all drawn into its wake after it passes.

    As a (alas, not as conscienscious) Christian (as you are a) Buddhist, I love this Loudon Wainwright song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAmMCyt1Pac

    And this liberty (but the responsibility is crushing):

    “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

    I think I’m in ruins.

  5. As a vegan myself, I do use your 3rd and 4th suggestion. There is always one person in every office that thinks its funny to repeatedly poke fun or draw attention to other people’s lifestyle choices, so I’ll give it right back.

    Her: “you aren’t getting enough protein.”
    Me: “you aren’t getting enough exercise.”

    Her: “These cadbury eggs are my favorite.”
    Me: “How do those beaver anal glands taste?”

    • Thanks for the affirmation! I work from home so I don’t have to put up with it much but I have and my friends do and it is good to have something at the ready. A little alpha dogging isn’t a bad thing. Take care.

    • I’m a fan of this sort of treatment too, and I really like the first “call & response.” The second one’s not bad either, but together with remarks by the other poster, it makes me wonder why there seems to be such a focus on the scatological when discussing the diet of omnivores. It almost makes me want to give up eating mushrooms!

      One other thing I’m curious about. What do vegans customarily feed their dogs and other pets? Would they impose their philosophical choices in spite of an expressed preference of the pet for a omnivore diet? Is there controversy in the vegan community about this?

      I’m genuinely curious about these things now. I candidly never gave the issue of veganism too much thought, but it’s always interesting to me to find out how people think differently. Incidentally, although an omnivore myself, I line up in support of vegans — in principle and practice. (More bacon for the Flanders!)

      • Thanks sir! I don’t discuss poop and food side by side. At least not in public. I try hard to avoid telling anyone what to eat. A dozen or so years ago I was an omnivore. Might be again. One never knows. Just now I wish people thought about it a bit more, so I am glad you are.

        Our prior dog went vegan when we did. She liked everything we gave her (vegan kibble and lots of stuff we made). Our current dog refused to eat vegan kibble and, as a result, eats all sorts of creatures. Doesn’t bother me. Some vegans would be very bothered.

        I never gave veganism much thought either. Actively resisted my wife’s urging. Then I read a book in a day and was done. Still at it some 13 or 14 years later. I like it. I don’t think about it or discuss it much unless people ask me about it. I do drop the word on this blog with some regularity.

        That’s enough of that! Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you are well.

      • Son of Flanders

        Please forgive me for persisting, gracious host. My curiosity gets the better of me sometimes.

        First, a little sidebar story: when the local coop was considering what to call its meat department, I suggested to someone who worked there that the perfect name would be “Murder.” I think it went over like a lead balloon, but can anyone here think of an appellation that would lend the organization more street cred from people on both sides of the issue? Although I can’t imagine a board of directors having the collective courage to make a choice like that, I do imagine that it would gain them *mega* publicity!

        So here’s what I wonder: among the people who assert that “meat is murder” — and if there are any among us, I’d be grateful to know their views — how do they view what might be called “the natural order of things” in the animal kingdom, which is by-and-large carnivorous? Should lions, tigers and bears all be imprisoned in cages (oh my!) and forced to eat grains?

        It occurs to me that this sort of logic leads to the conclusion that the natural order of things has become corrupted (and since time out of mind). Then the “scales fell from my eyes” and I realized just how consistent this view is with the Biblical one. To wit, in the account of the sixth day of creation, it’s written, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

        Exclamation point. Huh. I’d completely forgotten that veganism, in the Biblical view, was the original plan before changes were brought about in the consequence of Adam’s sin. And evidently it is to be the *final* plan following the ultimate reconciliation, when “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

        This is giving me a lot of food for thought, and I hope it does for others. (If you’re not full yet, get a load of the next chapter of Genesis, wherein the first Murder is committed out of envy by Cain — who you might recall was a *farmer* whose grain offering was spurned by God — against his brother Abel, a *rancher* whose animal sacrifices were said to be pleasing to God. The whole thing is blowing my mind now, frankly.

        Anyway, thanks for your hospitality, Randy. I should probably get my own blog now….

      • No worries. I haven’t had to look much beyond the golden rule to keep me more or less on track. Not sure what would have to present itself to get me to rethink it. So far, so good.

  6. So I really wanted to congratulate that lovely Frida on her accolades! WhOOp WhOOp!! Great job being a therapy pet, Frida!!! Shirl and I were so thrilled to see her achievement and are always holding out for her health. She’s the bestest dog we’ve known in many a decade.

    Um . . . So I’m super appreciative of getting to hear the Nth level hells that my vegan kin get stuck with. My vegetarian travails are really nothing in comparison . . . I wish all of you (and those dear) fewer slight, shrugs and smacks from the less-than-considerate omni- and other-vores out there. I’ll bristle at well intentioned but patronizing menu recitations, but I don’t have to work hard to find a diner that will serve pasta or potato while dining with folks who need dead animals to eat. I rarely get the outright abuse and hostility y’all are stuck with. I guess that’s my passing privilege and I don’t mean to flaunt it. I’m truly sorry for the crap you’re always getting from the hegemony.

    Be well and strong,

    Devon

    • Thanks for the support! So much and so well expressed! I feel nurtured!

      Your reply reminds me of a tactic I’ve heard works–don’t identify as vegan. If your food or food order draws attention it may be better to say you are vegetarian or even strict vegetarian. I guess you’ve lost a
      chance to advertise but it is probably better not to advertise at work. Or at least not until you’ve been there some time.

      I don’t know if you know that Frida hung up the therapy pet gig eight years ago. We were just digging through a drawer and found her ID card and decorations. But I will pass along your congratulations and kind words.

      Thanks so much dear friend.

  7. Hi Randal, Thanks for sharing your friend’s situation. Many vegetarian/vegan’s and folks new to the diet are unsure how to cope with open opposition. I’ve found a helpful approach is to consider the place where the comments come from and reading the person’s soft gestures. Are they curious, sincere, aggressive?

    Reading the comment it sounds like he is an instigator and enjoys getting a rise out of people.

    Here are some quick come backs your friend can use:
    “I’ve been a vegan for 14 years and I’ve heard it all.”
    “No thank you, I support my love for animals by not eating them.”
    “When you have temphe jerky for lunch, Let me know.”
    “I guess you never saw Bambi as a Kid. He lives at the end.”

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