The Nature of Compromise and Choice

As you might notice from my “About” page, animal rights is an issue that has been a long time coming for me.  My own “journey” has been one of daily compromise.  Now, just to put to rest your thinking that I’m beating myself up for that, I am not.  But I also not going to pretend that my daily consumption of animals has been anything other than an abiding and deep personal disappointment.  I always felt bad about it but thought that I would find a solution to my dilemma later.  At 53, I  finally reached later.


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Now, I also don’t want you to think that I am advocating this choice for you.  The choice to no longer eat animals is a choice that I make for me, to restore me to my self.  The self that I am and that I promised to become when I was a fresh young thing.  I told you about my promise (“About”), and here, in begrudging tribute to what’s his face, is the rest of the story.

A few of my classmates might recall the day that I gave a speech in 5th grade science class.  That was the day our teacher proposed to take the heart out of a living chicken.  Which, by the way, she said we could put back, and the chicken would be fine.  Mmmm.  Nice one, teach.  At any rate, we didn’t mutilate that chicken, and so maybe the day should have been a victory for me on my path.  But what I recall most about that day was the embarrassment that I felt for being an animal advocate.  I recall joining in the good-natured, fifth grade jokes about Martha and the Chicken.  And I felt that I had compromised myself.

But that was also a day about choices.  That was the day that I became more of a class clown and less of an animal advocate.  It seemed to that fifth grader as if she had to be one or the other:  she could either choose to be an animal advocate, look like a fool, and have people laugh at her, OR choose to be a fool and have people laugh with her.  Sob story.  Again, this is not my icky attempt at sympathy.  I am just a horrible writer.

The point that I am trying to make has something to do with the nature of compromise and choice.  That fifth grader started something that she didn’t know she was starting.  She set up a dichotomy, an either/or and a chain of inevitable compromises.  And because I haven’t done much thinking about that day, I didn’t even realize it.

But here’s what I see about this little yarn.  There’s a dynamic in my life that now makes sense.  Ask my close friends and family whether I have a sense of humor about anything that is important to me.  I am either impassioned or funny, but never both.

So, as I said, this was not my attempt to make you stop eating something.  But just an invitation from one who made choices and compromises long ago and can now be responsible for them.  I am a freer person now than I was on that day in science class, and maybe you can find choices that you can be responsible for.  It would really help me make my point if I could tell a great joke right now that would put you in the floor.   But that ain’t happening.  I never was funny.

One response to “The Nature of Compromise and Choice

  1. i’ve been struggling w/ the animal-eating thing for a while, now. was a vegan for many years in/after college, but slipped back in. now i just try to eat only free-range animals and eggs, no dairy (yeah soy!) love the choices of CSA’a here in the ATL. I am a member of Moores Farm and Friends.

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