The Lies That We Like

The Lies That We Like

I hear people say all the time that lying is a bad thing. As a child I was taught that lying is wrong, not just wrong, but a sin. We even have laws that demand we not lie and if we are caught doing so we can go to jail, or get fined, or be subject to hours of community service, or all three. The thing is, when you get right down to it, there are plenty of lies that we don’t mind at all, and in some cases we enjoy them quite a lot. So for today’s Smirk, here are a few of those lies that I think we as people thoroughly enjoy.

Let’s start with the Tooth Fairy. Adults tell their kids that some mentally deranged tutu wearing waif with wings, who has an addiction to ivory in the shape of children’s teeth, breaks in to and enters their home while the family is sleeping, creeps into the child’s room and invades the kids personal space by reaching under the child’s pillow, while their sleeping head is on it!, to find a freshly removed tooth. The only thing the keeps her from being a prosecuted is the fact that, apart from being fictional, she leaves a little coin under your pillow in exchange for the tooth, instead of outright stealing it.

Still, when you hear this lie as a kid, you are elated that some fairy is going to be paying you a special visit during the night to pick up your discarded tooth and leave you some cash in its place. You know, if you stop and think about it, the Tooth Fairy is a lot like garbage man. However, in this day and age I think the PC job description would be a door-to-door ivory disposal engineer. The thing I loved about this lie was the reward I got for playing an active role in it. When I lost a tooth I always placed it under my pillow, looking forward to the monetary reward I would be getting for losing it in the first place. Although, now that I think about it, it does kind of teach kids that it’s alright to sell your body parts . . . the more I think about this lady the creepier she gets.

The cash I got from the Tooth Fairy did turn into a bit of a vicious cycle. I always used my Tooth Fairy money to buy more candy so I could lose more teeth to get more money to get more candy. The Tooth Fairy was one of my few money making venues as a kid. If I wanted candy my options for making money so I could get some was teeth (25 cents each), a lemonade stand (10 cents a glass), my weekly allowance (1 dollar), searching the couch for loose change (this varied anywhere from 1 cent to a record $1.87), and birthdays (I could always count on my grandparents giving me a 5 dollar bill each year. Due to these limited money making opportunities I once, and I’m not proud of this, took my little sister’s tooth from under her pillow while she slept and put it under my own pillow in hopes of cashing in on her lost tooth . . . it didn’t work, and I got grounded.

Next we have the over-sized, self-aware, ultra-soft, cuddly woodland creature that has a hide and seek fetish for baskets full of treats and dyed hard boiled eggs. Not to mention, thanks to Cadbury, it is believed that this bunny has the magical power to excrete chocolate eggs.

Side note: Thanks to the marketing campaign of Cadbury every Easter, I do always get a cheap laugh when I purchase my one Cadbury Creme Egg for the year and then, while eating it in front of my friends, mention once or twice, “I’ve really got to stop eating this crap.”

I loved this lie as a kid! The idea of a giant bunny sneaking into my house once a year to expel chocolate all over the place and then steal all the eggs we dyed the night before only to hide them throughout the house, was not only a vast source of youthful entertainment, but it was a wonderful exercise in imagination. It resulted in me asking questions such as, “If I was a bunny, where would I hide an Easter basket?” Plus, if you were like me and not that proficient at finding all of the stashes of chocolate droppings around the house there was always the chance of finding a lost stash of chocolate a few weeks after finishing the last bits of my Easter candy.

One lie that initially carried with it a great deal of disappointment was the lie about lying. No, not the “you should never lie” lie, but the one about the spontaneous combustion that occurs to one’s britches when a lie is told. Seriously, the first time I caught someone lying to me I was more disappointed that their pants did not burst into flames than I was about the fact that I caught them lying to me. This was a lie I did not appreciate as a kid, but as an adult who tells this lie to children, it is a true delight. The most rewarding part is watching them try to comprehend the cause and effect dynamic that they are pretty sure is flawed, but they don’t want to test it out, just in case their pants catch fire.

The list of acceptable lies goes on and on, Santa being one of the biggest, not just by body mass, but by the reaction people had on it once they found out . . . a Smirk I am saving for the holidays.

If you are still leery of this “liking lies” concept there is one lie we all love to be a part of. The “It’s not sour” lie associated for all things sour. We lie all the time about things not being sour when we know for a fact they are. The sole purpose for this is to get the person we are lying to, usually a child, to put something extremely sour in their mouth unbeknownst to them. Then we wait with high anticipation for the lie to pay off when the kid’s taste buds register they are eating something sour and their face uncontrollably distorts in to a wide array of visual hilarity. In short, we lie to people about sour food so they will eat it and make funny faces that make us laugh.

An entire room of adults will take an active role in this lie just so they can all laugh at the faces a five year old makes when they eat a lemon. If you get me anywhere near a baby and a kitchen at the same time, you can bet at some point I am going to be coaxing the little whippersnapper to sample a lemon wedge. And you know what? No one stops me. Know why? They, just like me, can’t wait to see and laugh at the infant’s reaction. The “sour lie” has been going on for generations, and I think as long as humans continue to have kids they are going to be lying to those kids about something tasting sour, all for the sake of laughing at their reaction to an unexpected flavor. It’s a lie that we all love to share.

So, what are some of your favorite happy lies?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: lying, kids pulling teeth, Cadbury Creme Egg, pants on fire, and eating sour lemon.

© Richard Timothy 2011

The Boy who Cried Rapture!

The Boy who Cried Rapture!

With it being almost a week since ol’ Harold Camping’s rapture prophesy proved erroneous… again. He has since come out to admit that he did not configure his rapture deadline “as accurately as I could have.” Still he rallied a few short days after his worldwide rapture prophesy failed, revised his Bible math once again and is sure that the end of the world will now come about October 21st of this year.

Now the last time that Harold got this wrong, he at least left us alone for a good 15 years, before singing that same old song. Personally I would have appreciated the same courtesy this time around. I think if you are going to break the socially accepted standard (that I just made up) of one failed end of the world prophesy per lifetime then there should be at least a 15 year hush period before giving it another go.

When his first end of the world failure happened in 1994 Harold told Steve Gill Radio, “It’s a learning curve, like with anything, the first time someone rode a bicycle if it didn’t have training wheels they’d fell over. And you have to get more experience.” Oh well that clears things right up, thanks Har… wait, what the hell does that even mean?

When asked by The Independent (UK) why his May 21st prophesy was different than his 1994 prophesy he said, “At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully…But now, we’ve had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen.” Is it just me or does anyone else find mildly amusing that a Bible scholar would choose to use the excuse of ‘not studying the bible enough’ for why his end of the world deadline failed to bring the end of the world… absolutely priceless.

Even while I’m writing this I’m trying to decide why I’m giving this whole thing not just one but two separate Smirks. I do find it a little fascinating, not the rapture bit, but the unwarranted credibility that people have been so willing to give this man’s claim, especially after being wrong, twice, soon to be three times! The only thing that I can guess is that the power of advertising is much stronger than I ever imagined it was. Although having 55 radio stations to push your opinions probably helped a bit.

It kind of reminds me of that kid in grade school that promises he did his math homework and gets called to the front of the class to work the problem on the board. He works the problem and gets it wrong, so he does it again, same outcome. All the while keeps lying to the class, reassuring everyone that, “I did my homework. I know this.” Eventually it’s obvious he has no clue what the answer is or even how to get the answer, but he doesn’t care because he loves the attention he gets standing in front of everyone while making random guesses claiming it is the right answer each time. “The answer is 21, I mean 9, no 13, I mean 47, I mean 5.” Well, you get the idea.

In the end though, this whole event left me a little melancholy. This old man’s opinion, which he peddled as unshakable truth, motivated so many people to act in heartbreaking ways. Some people believed this man so assuredly that they quit their jobs, spent their life savings and/or maxed out their credit cards to warn others about the undeniable end. Then you have others who were so afraid by his end of the world propaganda that they attempted suicide, some even succeeded.

Harold’s response to this was, “I don’t have any responsibility. I can’t take responsibility for anybody’s life. I’m only teaching the Bible.” Now I have a number of friends that are Christian and according to them the Bible does teach a good deal about loving for and caring for your fellow human, which does bring up the question. Has Harold actually read the book that he claims to be a scholar on? Only he can answer that, but based on this track record for using it to predict the end, he’s not a very good reader. It would seem he struggles a great deal with reading comprehension.

I guess for me, the message of today’s Smirk is don’t spend your life waiting for a reward in an afterlife that may or may not happen. You are alive now, live the life you know you have. Make today and everyday worth living, because in the end it’s not about how you might live, it’s about how lived.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: saying oops, chalkboard, and Pinocchio.

© Richard Timothy 2011

What’s Driving You?

What’s Driving You?

With so many things going on in the world I thought I use today’s Smirk to bring the world together by sharing a theory I have about automobiles. The theory is one that I think most people who have ever driven an automobile might be able to relate to at some point in the life, and the older I get the more it rings true. The theory is in reference to automobiles… instant asshole, just add driver.

Now, I’m not saying this is the case all the time for everyone. If anything it is the case once in a great while for most people, and a common occurrence for very few people every day. I will be the first to admit that I am not exempt from this rule, specifically because I was a teenage driver, which in my case means that the older I get the less frequent my bouts of assholedness while driving. Grated, I did spend a five year period riding my bike around because I could not afford a car, which I think helped equal me out for some of my driving maneuvers in my youth.

When we get behind the wheel of a car there are certain transformational urges that happen, for example… puddles. When it’s been raining and I see a big puddle by the side of the road and have a ridiculously intense compulsion to alter my course about a foot to the right so I can speed though that gathering of calm water creating a tidal wave of nasty street water covering anything in its path. Now if there is a person standing next to that puddle, well this is the true test of what kind of person you really are. Even in these situations where I just drive past, I find I’m gritting my teeth tightly, as if my intellect is battling my instinct to keep control of the situation and avoid splashing some complete stranger simply because they are in the wrong place at the right time.

In all of my driving experience though, I think the parking lot breeds more vehicle induced assholes than any other driving scenario… except maybe Mario Kart. Here is one parking lot faux pas that always bothers me… when someone with a handicap parking sticker on their car drives past all the open and available handicap parking spots and parks in the closest normal parking spot. Look, I’m not going to judge you for parking in a handicap spot if you have that sticker saying you are welcome to do so, but if you decide not to park in those aptly available designated parking spots and take mine instead, you can bet I’m going to be judging you. Not for being handicap mind you, but for being an ass.

The parking spot thief is one of the biggest assholes found in a parking lot. Here’s what I mean, a little while ago my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I were in the parking lot of a rather busy store one Saturday afternoon. We noticed that someone was leaving so we patiently waited, with our blinker on signaling to everyone around us that we were waiting for the spot that was becoming available. As the person in the spot backed out of it and maneuvering around us to flee the insanity of that parking lot some guy in a forest green Subaru came in from the other direction and pulled into the spot right as the other person was leaving, and driving around us. It was the most classic “I’m an asshole” move I’ve ever witnessed in any parking lot. The thing was that there was an open spot just two parking spaces down directly across from where he parked. We were baffled at the necessity this crotchety old man had to be such an ass.

I remember noticing a “Clear air” environments logo on his license plate, which got me laughing. A stereotype I usually attach to people that fall under environmentalist category is that of a person that wants planets and people to live together in peace and harmony… it would appear in this one’s case that does not include having people living together in harmony on this planet. I will say he was very strategic in avoiding eye contact with us as he walked past us on his way to the store.

At my current job, we have “expectant mother” parking spots just past the handicap spots, which are just past the executive parking spots… yeah I know, apparently there’s something about being an executive that a person more needy than the handicap and expectant mothers. Still trying to figure out what that is though. The point I want to make is about the “expectant mother” parking spots. Women at my work place can get a pass that allows them to park in these designated spots during their pregnancy, which I think is great. What I struggle with is when an expectant father has his doctor buddy write him a note so that he, the father to be not the doctor, can get one of these passes to park in the “expectant mother” spots. Seriously, if someone is that lazy it’s amazing to me how their sperm ever had the endurance to fertilize and egg let alone swim all that distance to get to the egg in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, parking lots can supply some comedic highlights as well, people singing along to their favorite song while waiting for someone to come out of the store in one such highlight. However, this only works if the singers windows are rolled up and you can’t hear them singing or the music being played. I must say that I am always filled with pride with watching these “parkers” and I am able to identify the song they are singing (this usually only happens as a result of both of us listening to the same radio station, but still it is a rewarding). Another similar situation is when someone is arguing with someone on the phone over their Bluetooth headset. All you really see is the over animated hand gestures and a lot of extraneously distorted facial expressions and shouts. I think the only equivalent to this would be watching a mime on crack.

I also feel compelled to point out… has anyone else noticed the irony that the most devoid place of any Christmas spirit is in a department store’s parking lot during the Christmas season? It’s pure chaos in all its ruthless and dysfunctional glory.

Over the years though it does seem that the more time a person spends in a car the more likely they are to cross over to the driving dark side. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people that I hope to never ever get to drive with again, it’s was like witnessing a Jekyll and Hyde transformation, which always happened the second they got behind the drivers wheel. Cars are helpful tools in our society, I get that, but if you’ll pardon this soap box moment, I think we’d all be better off sending as much time out of them as possible… I suppose you could call this my two week late Earth Day message for this year.

For me, these days I do my best to avoid driving offensively or defensively. I do my best to drive karmically as much as possible. Since I’ve started adopting this driving style, I noticed that I’m much calmer and happier during the time I spend behind the wheel of my car.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: angry driver, grumpy man, yelling on cell, car splashing, and driving happy.

© Richard Timothy 2011

What Kind of Camper are You?

What Kind of Camper are You?

This Smirk began as a Facebook post that I borrowed from some random post on, a highly entertaining resource for random thoughts and observations made by everyday people. In fact a lot of my random one-liners I post on Facebook come from there. The post I’m referring to is, “If you’re camping and you have WiFi, you’re not camping.” Turned out, this got me thinking about camping and what it even means anymore.

I know what it used to mean. It meant complete isolation from the populated world. You embraced the nomadic lifestyle of our hunter/gatherer ancestors and would strap an industrial sized backpack with padded shoulders straps and a belt to help take some of the weight off your back and shoulders. You brought your house and your bed with you (a tent and sleeping bag), and food, or something to catch your food with like a gun or a fishing pole. You had to go find your own rocks to build a campfire circle and hunt for wood dry enough to be used for your camp fire, and “cheating” was considered bringing some lighter fluid to help you start a fire, although some of the “puritan” campers would say that bringing matches let alone a lighter was cheating.

On more than one occasion in my youth I went camping in the middle of winter, of course it was for scouts. Now perhaps I leaned some valuable survival skills being a part of a club that requires you to take part in a winter camping weekend where you go into the woods and spend the afternoon digging a snow cave that you actually use as shelter for the night, and your only heat source is a candle you personally constructed using wax coated cardboard rolled up and placed into an empty tuna fish tin. That experience specifically brings a lot of memories to mind and, well, let me just say… screw you Boy Scouts of America! Seriously, that organization did more to cater to and sculpt my hate for spending the night in nature than all the Friday the 13th films combined.

I realize that the camping has changed since I was a kid. It has gone through a bit of an evolution and honestly I’m all for it. Now, even though I’m not really a camper, I can still “camp” based on the new hybrid camping options for people not willing to commit to the true and pure form of camping. As I see it, here are one’s current camping options:

True Camping
This is the type of camping where there is no question of whether you are camping or not.

  • Camp Access: Zero road access, you have to hike at least half a mile to get to your camp site. 4x4ing or using an ATV to get to the camp site does not count; it’s cheating and will never count as true camping. However, using horses, or canoes is an acceptable option.
  • Shelter: A tent that you had to haul with you and put together once you arrived at the camp site. Using a tarp draped over a branch to make a self made tent is not only allowed, but does qualify you as a “hard core” true camper. Note that there are a number different variables that qualify you for this extreme camping classification, but will not be addressed in this Smirk (fell free to add them in the comments if you have your own).
  • Sleep option: A sleeping bag. If you want some cushion use hand pulled grass and place it on the ground under your sleeping bag. In some warmer climates it is common to sleep on top of the sleeping bag under the open sky, or in a hammock.
  • Running Water: Rivers or creeks only, and if you want hot water for your coffee/tea you have to boil it over an open fire.
  • Cell Phone: Zero coverage. No bars, no texts, no emails, and no Facebook updates or Tweets. In fact the only thing your phone is good for is to tell time and as a flashlight at night until the batter dies… there is absolutely no recharging your phone in true camping. Also, the only allowable electronic device when truly camping is a flashlight, and possibly a digital camera for documenting the trip. Any MP3 players or any device that allows you to watch a movie or play a game automatically demotes you from “true camping.”

Mostly Camping
This is the type of camping where ones addiction to their toys limits their ability to become a true camper. Most of the essentials of true camping stay intact, such as using a tent and sleeping bag, and not having any artificial running water like showers or toilets. Road access is still a no no, but how you get to the camp site can alter a bit. This usually happens through the use of one or multiple ATVs getting your goods to camp. This equates to foam pads you can sleep on, and food in coolers, even ice cold beer that does not have to be stored in the river to keep it cold. Bringing a grill to place over the fire to cook the store bought meat is also a possibility. However, electronic components are still out minus the previously mentioned camera and/or flashlight, and some sort of music playing device, either electronic (iPod, etc.) or music instruments that you personally play (guitar, harmonica, bongos, etc). I stand firm in supporting the idea that the key reason for camping is to unplug and get closer to nature.

Sort of Camping
The first thing is that you have road access, but you are in a forested and/or nature filled setting. Like when you go to assigned camp sites in national parks or forests, or KOA campgrounds (but only if you are sleeping outside and in a tent and not in one of their little cabins). Yes, you still need to be in a tent or a similar structure for sleeping. There are out houses or restrooms close by, and in some cases you have running water, and sometimes you will even have access to take a hot shower. However, in some instances the water dispensers will have a sign next them informing you whether the water is safe to drink or is only for washing up. You may or may not have cell phone coverage, but you can easily recharge it in your car, which is about 10 to 40 feet from your camp. Also, if it gets too cold or a storm begins you can always leave your tent and escape to sleep inside your car for the night.

Pretend Camping
Pretend camping consists of sleeping in a nature filled area, again like a KOA campground or a some similar place, but you end up staying in a place that has a solid floor, a roof overhead and an electrical outlet. These places have beds and one light… in short you experiencing a “roughing it” hotel visit. I once stayed in a yurt in on a beach in Oregon, yes it was a big tent, but there were three beds and an electric heater. We were right by the beach, but I had no disillusions, we were pretending to camp.

There is a different type of pretend camping where people set up a tent in their yard and “camp” for the night. Traditionally this is reserved for the smaller people of the world, and no, I am not talking about that group of people that prefer the PC identifier of little people. No, I mean kids, and just because you are spending the night in a tent, if you can still have a plate of pizza rolls hand delivered at a moment’s notice by your mother… all you are doing in that tent is pretending… and maybe staying up late reading comic books. In truth you are having a sleep over and nothing more… which brings me to today’s final camping category.

“You’re Not Camping” Camping
If you are staying in a furnished log cabin, or in an RV, guess what? You’re not camping. Even if you are out in the woods surrounded by nature, there is nothing remotely campish about this type of camping. Still, some people chose to call it camping, which is why I’ve added it to the list. I think the general rule of thumb is that if you have a fully functioning kitchen, running water, a television and DVD or gaming consol, central heating and cooling, and a bed with sheets and a comforter, well, you can call it any word you want, but you my friend are not, and never will be camping in this type of environment… I’m just saying.

Well there you have it, my list for deciphering the type of camping you enjoy and the type of camper you are. Personally, I prefer the “You’re not camping” camping. Don’t get me wrong I like to see nature, take pictures, and go on nice walks together. It’s just that I’m not that interested in spending the night together… can’t we just be friends and leave it at that?

What kind of camper are you?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: camping, camping in snow cave, hiking with backpack, camping by car, and RV camping.

© Richard Timothy 2011

An Ode to Haunting Conversations

An Ode to Haunting Conversations

I’ve have a friend and office mate, same person actually, who is exceptionally susceptible to anything supernatural, and is easily swayed in support of their ghostly existence. Left to his own devices he would be convinced that every image he came across on Google Images under the key words “ghost pictures,” would stand as irrevocable proof that the whole Earth is hunted. And even though it’s not on my list of job requirements, when he gets a little overly sensitive about the issue I’ll spend some time Googling these “images of proof” in hopes that his haunt-expecting persona will be able to let it go long enough to get back to what makes him, him… namely going off on obscure tangents that results in at least two people in the room reminding him to use his “inside voice”.

Of course he’s also terrified of midgets, or little people, as they prefer to be called… I’m not sure what that has to do with any of this, but it does give you a little back ground into his personality. I suppose if there was one thing on the planet that could put this guy into a fear coma it would be some sort of proof (fake or fact), such as a photo, Youtube video, Destination Truth episode, a blog post… anything really, which revealed that there was, in fact, a little person ghost out there maliciously haunting people. I wonder if it would overload his fear capacitor and he would become the next Evel Kinevel?

On more than one occasion it’s taken me about half a day to convince him that his house is not haunted and that he can go home again. To be fair these are the exceptions and not the rule. I’ve talked him though a code red on two separate occasions. He arrived at work determined that he would not set foot in his home ever again. By the end of the day his resiliency was worn down to the point that maybe he’d be willing to take a nap in the house just to make sure nothing was going on… but if something else happened, I had to promise to help him move. So far, he’s deferred hiring any moving vans.

I’d say that at least once a week we have a “ghostly” discussion. Here are a few actual conversations I’ve had with him:

  • All old houses are probably haunted, which is why he’ll only move into newly built houses, apartments, etc. He even had his realtor research to make sure his current home was not build on or near any old relocated cemeteries.
  • He wanted to know if I could help him find a Buddhist exorcist to get the spirit out of his house, which was making his dog freak out and bark at nothing. There were two spate occasions where a “ghost” had played hide and seek with his ring and then another time his watch… these were the code reds.
  • For a few weeks this year he sulked everyday because his friend had just moved into an old house, which He was sure was haunted, you know, because of how the house looked from the outside. Eventually, over time, he started to go over and visit, but he refused to be alone in house. If there were two people in a room, and he was one of them, and the other person got up to leave, he’d follow them out of that room.
  • If Ghost Hunters didn’t find anything and deemed a location as a “ghost free” zone, he was pretty sure they just didn’t try hard enough. And let’s not forget to mention the play-by-play of what happened on the Ghost Hunters episode he watched the night before.
  • He is certain most ghosts enjoy Christmas, and are traditionally in a better mood, which explains why there is always an abundance of positive energy surrounding the holiday season.
  • He wanted to know if I wanted to start a ghost hunting club. He’d been researching what type of equipment to buy and thought we could make some money catching ghosts. Eventually he admitted to drinking a lot and watching Ghostbusters the night before and that it seemed like a really good idea at the time. By the end of our conversation, he apologized.

I must admit that there has been a time or two… probably more… okay, definitely more, that I have taken part as the instigator. Telling him stories that people have told me, or sharing blog posts I have read, like a recent one about a child ghost playing with some little kid’s toys, which a friend of mine wrote about just this past week on his blog Atypical Read. It’s a pretty good story and worth checking it out… though please note, the author does have an affinity for using abrupt language that most people would consider “not safe for work”, unless you work at sea that is.

I’m not sure why I instigate it. Perhaps it’s my fascination with my seeing my friend light up and get so passionate about something so frightening to him… it so, well, brilliantly human. It’s oddly inspiring really… embracing what scares us, instead fleeing and hiding from the unknown. So, I’ve decided to start doing just that. At least once a week I will get my brain out its lazy boy and do something a little uncomfortable, scary even. I think my “ghost days” will be a good reminder of that. Today, I’ll be submitting a story to someone that may want to share it with others, or that may want to print it off and use it to start a fire that their children will use to make a batch of s’mores for a community bake sale to help earn some money to buy new pots and pans for a local soup kitchen… which is still pretty cool. Either way I’ll have done something that is a little scary for me sometimes. Still, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good day.

What would your first “ghost day” action be?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: ghosts, haunted house, and poke a badger with a spoon.

Coming Out… The Journey from Vegan to Not

Coming Out… The Journey from Vegan to Not

Some conversations end before they ever have a chance to get started. Others are one-liner conversations, much like reading the cover of a Cosmo while in the checkout line at the grocery store. And then there are conversations that begin with such obscurity that you can’t help but stand in muted awe until the person speaking explains what the hell their talking about. Take me for example, this weekend my sister was over visiting and the first thing out of her mouth was, “My boyfriend finally came out to me.”

And I just stood there, my mouth slightly open, wanting to say something, but pretty sure I needed a little more information before I began adding anything to the conversation. My sister must have noticed this because she quickly added, “He’s a closet meat eater.”

“He eats closets full of … or he eats meat in his closet?” I asked.

I think the new layer of confusion now resting on my face was the indicator that she needed to start this whole conversation over. “He’s vegan, at least he was. He has been for years.”

Turns out her vegan boyfriend, has been enjoying a little meat consumption without anyone knowing, and feeling just terrible about it, sort of. For the record, it’s only fish. He still is highly opposed to him consuming any mammals or fowl of any kind. But when it comes to fish, letting that boy lose in a sushi restaurant is like watching a claymation King Kong tear apart a model of New York. Oh the horror! Still, he does his best to keep his “closet” fish eating to himself and away from his friends and family.

My sister and I began discussing her “out” (or “fish-nivorous”) boyfriend and the issue behind calling yourself a vegan, when you are not even a vegetarian. Her perspective was that claiming you are a vegan, when you clearly aren’t, is lying to yourself about the person you truly are. I decided it was just like smoking. I have had many friends over the years who would only smoke when they drank, all the time referring to themselves as nonsmokers. They clearly were smokers, even if they only drank once a week, but because it wasn’t an everyday thing, they held to the personal opinion that they were nonsmokers.

There are a lot of people that do this though. People are constantly calling themselves something they’re not. Take me for example, for years I’ve called myself a “beady eyed vegetarian”, which meant that I would eat vegetables and animals with beady eyes. Things like fish or fowl, but big eyed animals like cow, lamb, pig, etc. were right out. So was I a beady eyed vegetarian? Not at all, because I ate meat, I still do. I mean if I really wanted to get more exact about my eating habits, I suppose I should just call myself a “carb whore.” Bread is my kryptonite.

If I am placed in front the consumables for what is traditionally called a meal, and there is any possible way of me pulling it off, ten times out of ten I’m going to be making a sandwich. It happens every time I have dinner at my parents. Even at Thanksgiving, or any meal even remotely Thanksgiving themed, I always grab a dinner roll first and slice that thing in half. I’ll place a scoop of stuffing on the bottom piece, then a slice of turkey, then some cranberries, then some of the lettuce from the salad, maybe a little salad dressing, and pop on the top of the roll and tada, I’m having a Thanksgiving dinner sandwich.

I guess I could call myself a “carni-lite” or a light carnivore, but that might confuse people because I am not a light person. I guess because I eat mostly fish, I could call me self an aquacannibal. It sort makes sense when you realize fish eat mostly other fish. Of course there is always going to be that one smart ass that thinks an aquacannibal is someone who only eats people who know how to swim. This is problem that always seems to happen when you introduce new labels into the already saturated human labeling market.

I have a friend to calls himself a vegan, but in reality he’s just a “sugar whore”. He might not eat any meat or dairy, but that chap eats more sugar than a nine year old with ADD on Easter Sunday who keeps announcing to the congregation that, “Blessed are the rabbits, for they shall lay chocolate eggs for all the good children of the world and have their feet considered lucky”… or something like that.

I mean if you are attempting to become a vegetarian then call it like it is. I would say calling yourself a “struggling vegetarian” might work, but I have a coworker that claims he is a struggling vegetarian, but to him it means that he struggles to eat any type of vegetable period. Actually, I think we should just make it a general rule of thumb, if you eat meat of any kind you are not a vegan or a vegetarian, especially if you are calling yourself one in between bites of your Chicken Caesar salad. I suppose technically, if you are eating a vegetarian dish, you could call yourself a vegetarian for that meal since you are following the dietary guidelines that coincide with the established definition of that label. But don’t. It’s confusing to everyone in the long run. Please for the sake of world sanity quit calling yourself something you clearly aren’t.

You can still be a vegan or vegetarian supporter even if you eat meat and vice versa. Also, vegans of the world, stop telling meat eaters that Tofurkey or a tofu anything that is processed to look and taste like meat actually tastes like meat… it doesn’t. Quit trying to convince anyone, yourself included, that it does. Good for you sticking to your dietary convictions, but you’re not fooling anyone telling us it takes like meat. How would you know?

Likewise, to all you excessive-amounts-of-meat eaters, don’t be a douche and when hanging out with the veggie people and constantly talk about how delicious meat is, and asking the veggie people if they want a bite of your steak. To them meat is murder… tasty, tasty murder… kidding, sorry (I saw that on a t-shirt once and it always pops into my head every time I hear the phrase “meat is murder”). To them meat is the equivalent of, well, a carnivore eating a Tofurkey loaf for Thanksgiving. Get over it and try having a non-meat related conversation with them. And in one final attempt to those that still don’t get it, if vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat that means there is more for you. Same goes to you veggie people in regards to vegetables. That way we all get something we like and we all get along… Check please!

I know “beady eyed vegetarian” might be a new term for some of you, what are some of your self-created food consumption labels?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: conversation, confused, vegan, thanksgiving sandwich, eating chicken Caesar salad, and eating meat.