Earlier today my friend Marcella emailed me a list that I had sent her years ago, and scarily enough a lot of it still applies, particularly items one, two, three and eight (even though it wasn’t very fuel-efficient and probably contributed significantly to global warming).
The thing I find the most interesting on the list, though, is the fact that I mentioned Sweet Valley University, since I only have read one book in that series. Sweet Valley High, on the other hand — well, let’s just say I’m familiar with Californian twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, as well as several of the books’ plotlines. Standout favorites include the one in which Elizabeth wakes up from a coma with a new personality; the one in which Enid gets paralyzed; the one in which Jessica gets involved with rich boy Bruce Patman; the one in which Elizabeth is kidnapped…
I also have to confess that I read several of the “Super Editions” — I absolutely lovedSpring Fever, in which Jessica and Elizabeth visit relatives in Kansas, get ostracized by the local kids and fall in love with a set of identical twins, until it is discovered that all is not what it seems. Ultimately everything works out in the end — turns out the town’s teens are jealous of the twins’ California style, the carnies (did I mention there are carnies?) are accepted by the community, and Jessica gets to finally wear a gingham dress à la Dorothy Gale.
What I’m about to write may cause me to get a ton of grief but I’m going to write it anyway: I think I would like to kill a chicken. The way I look at it, if I’m going to go down to the market and buy its breast or the pair of its thighs packaged up neatly and sanitarily in plastic wrap and Styrofoam, I should be comfortable taking an axe to its neck.
The operative word in that sentence, of course, is should, because I don’t feel comfortable with the thought of taking an axe to anyone’s neck, let alone my dinner’s. Why is that though? Why do so many of us who eat meat feel squeamish at the thought of turning an animal into it? Recreational fishermen and women do it all the time — in the remake of The Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan version, not the one with the triplets) it is indicated that the father and the twins fish for and gut their meal, though all the action takes place off screen. For some reason, the idea of killing and cleaning a fish isn’t nearly as disturbing to some as the idea of doing the same to a bird — let alone a pig, a cow, a lamb, a rabbit, a deer, a calf, etc.
Let’s clarify a few things first. I’m not saying I’m going to acquire some live poultry and separate their heads from their bodies, just as I’m not saying that anyone who eats meat should first kill his or her food. I am very much a carnivore, and I sincerely doubt I will ever return to vegetarianism unless prescribed so by a doctor, and even then I know I’ll go against medical advice. I like meat far too much. I’m eating some lamb meatballs right now and they are lovely.
What I’m trying to say is this: I think it would be important for me — not for you or for anyone else, as this is not a doctrine — to kill something with the intention of then cooking and eating it. I think it would be a significant experience, and would force me to consider even more about what it is that I’m putting into my body. Too much of what we eat is almost automatic. We’ve turned animals into objects in a manner that epitomizes the definition of the word objectify, and if we are in fact what we eat, I want to be proud to be called chicken.