In search of ponies: Vegetarianism not a crusade

Sharna Johnson

No turkey for me.

No green beans with chunks of ham. No brown gravy. No bacon-garnished this or that.

But I’m fine with your fridge full of leftover bird. Really.

And I don’t begrudge you the leftover ham sandwiches you’ll be eating next week either.

Now before you glance at the bacon on your plate, hide your leather boots under your chair and brace for the sermon, give me one, open-minded, second of your time.

I’m a vegetarian, not a crusader.

In fact, I’d rather most people not try the vegetarian thing for a variety of reasons — primarily and selfishly I’ll admit, since many do it because it’s “popular,” to make a statement or just for shock value. My reason isn’t one of those, but I have to wade through them every time it’s discovered I’m a vegetarian.

“Oh, are you trying to lose weight? My sister tried that diet.”

Or, “My roommate in college went vegetarian after she saw a documentary on slaughter houses.”

I think my favorite was the girl waxing eternal to me on her duty as a vegetarian to save animals, as she picked the bones clean from a plate of buffalo wings. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that used to be a happy cluck-cluck.

I was raised a vegetarian from birth — my parents’ decision, based on their religious convictions.

They taught me how to balance my diet, and instead of eating the cow to get the iron and protein, to cut out the middle man and go straight to the source. So I can’t take credit for making an ethical stand because it wasn’t my idea in the first place.

As I grew, I learned I do have some sentiments attached to animals, and I just can’t make the leap to carnivore. But that’s me; it doesn’t have to be you.

Meat-eaters have always been wary of me. I guess they’re afraid I will try to convert them or guilt them, something I have gotten used to and am very sensitive to.

But as much as meat-eating people give me funny looks — and they do —