Saturday, April 14, 2007

Vengeful Vegans

Within my clique of sensitive, mild-mannered friends I inhabit the unflattering but totally enjoyable role of being the resident warped asshole. And to live up to the honourable esteem I constantly have the jerk quotient in check. This only proves my long-standing suspicion that you don’t really have friends; you have people who can stand you.

In my defence let me point out that despite my admirable consistency in infuriating my very good pals, nothing can change the fact that I have deep and fond respect for them as human beings. The thing is, such respect and fondness usually gets clouded by the unanticipated wisecracks that sometimes heave off my mouth.

Of course, I am aware that my friends have very good sense of humor and that they are mature, open-minded, smart individuals who can sensibly differentiate the discrepancy in my tonal value whenever I am serious and when I’m lobbing a brutal joke at a treasured target. It’s just that, despite my respectful admiration of their principles and values I couldn’t resist poking half-assed jokes.

Of all the people I love, there’s this particular vegan friend who is the customary recipient of our most infuriating banter.

She’s an editor; intelligent, have a deadpan sense of proportion, and have a potent gift of hilarity. Her only flaw is that, among us, she’s the most passionate advocate of vegan, healthy, principled lifestyle. A certified member of PETA, a believer of the physical and spiritual virtues of yoga, and I’m afraid she’s hell-bent into converting all of us into curdled tofu.

She’s consummate, passionate, and I must say, totally fucked.

Anyway she’s one of the very few people I admire genuinely. In an increasingly cynical, shallow, and twisted world, she’s a rare gem whose conviction on things is pretty sturdy, unassailable even to a fault. Suffice to say she’s one of my favourite preys of snide and frequently, wickedly malicious punches.

Over Friday’s lunch I decided to bequeath her another jab.

“Have the steak.” I helped out, while she’s staring at the menu far more intently than necessary. I know she’s scanning it for something she can graze on.

“I’d spear you with the salad fork,” she retorted, rolling her eyeballs, “but I’m an equal opportunity activist. No cruelty against absolute animals!”

“Seriously,” I persisted grinning at her like a demented hyena, quoting an old Diesel ad, “We should eat more meat, because, hey, cabbages have feelings, too!”

Other friends convulsed with restrained laughter.

“You should have been aborted.” She snaps back.

“I thought you’re pro-life.”

“For you, I’d alter my beliefs and go pro death.”

“Bah! Oscillating standards!”

“Fixed Turd.”

Name-calling among fond people is the real essence of friendship.

While she’s fluctuating her eyeballs upwards and downwards the menu card, I pressed on my pestering.

“I’ll have the stuffed tomato.” She finally settled.

“Just because they were naturally deprived of a mouth,” I taunted her, “that doesn’t mean those tomatoes don’t scream in pain when you yank them off their stalks.” (Mental note: get rich by filing class action suit against vegetarians in behalf of tomatoes everywhere.)

“Quit it, Hannibal.”

“I swear they bleed, too. But hey, I hear you. You’ve made a believer out of me. To honor my newfound deference I will have the garden salad...”

She eyes me suspiciously, waiting for when the other shoe drops.

I kept silent.

Convinced of my newly-embraced faux virtue she proceeded to peruse the menu for an appropriate drink.

“Of course,” I chuckled, “I’d have it garnished with a five pound prime Angus steak.”

She laughed with the rest of us but her eyes had a homicidal glint as they darted from the salad fork to my neck.

I should have been alarmed but I calmly lanced my appetizer. I knew she wouldn’t give in to murderous thoughts. It's a matter of unshakable principle.

Vegans outlawed whaling.

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