by Jacob Warn
On St. George’s Day at Oriel College, Oxford, it is customary to feast on Roast Goose – fat Isaic Bird!
Indignant, I beat off the carnally-laden arms of our servers. Give me something blander, my appetite and I demand. My appetite, four years after forsaking the excess of Animal Meats is blanched, de-refined, and become less discerning on my Sabine Fare of nuts and wooden mushrooms; the rearing head of Vegetarian Taste trodden low by canine diners’ venous remarks.
Canine Teeth are, by-the-bye, one of the Meat-Eater’s gravy-stock biological weapons against Lotus-Eaters. We are dentally-designed, they deign to declare, to tear sweet hunks of proteinous flesh; to dog-ear roasted game.
Nay, I cry, thumping down on the table. My eyes, through the fizzing decanters of water, gorging and guttering madly. What meaneth you by meat (quoth I), dost thou refer to Pulled Pork, Plucked Poultry and Burnt Beef, all species of your Animal Kingdom? Fair Kingdom this ruled over with such callousness – how far from mellifluous Arcadia and Edenic Bliss where naught was eaten but what Earth did grow herself! Consult your Dictionaries – fools! – your Thesauruses and Etymologicans. Find you writ therein such circumscribed semantic bounds? Meat meets with no such meaning. Meat is but food, the stuff we chew.
Try, I do contest, to tear the Portobello Mushroom sans Canine tusk; attempt the Tender Asparagus without tautening its tendrils on these magnificent members of the oral orifice. Thou shalt not succeed, I warrant. Yet this besides, is meat not justly that name giv’n to all of Nature’s comestible crop? To the sylvan nut and risen loaf? Callest not th’exotic coconut’s white innards Flesh? You see, the Fools that call themselves Meat-Eaters are non other than Nut-Eaters, eaters of the very Planteous Substances they decry as our diet!
Reign in these infallibilities I ought – lest Meaty Mouth catch the Trickling Tears brought on by this Right Righteousness. Yet hold I won’t, but follow hard-on with more. For as I spy the Goosen repast of my neighbours, a smell divine wafts to my wettened nostrils and so assaults the brain I cannot help but plead, beg, wish to steal with scythe and pitch a forkful of the stuff. Edax me facit!!
With supercilious stare, my company inquire why I – the Vegetarian – profane a Green Creed thus. Tush (I reply), judge me not till I’ve had this bite. And raising forth a fork heaped with this gravy-drenched goose, I plunge Neptune’s Trident, flecked with sea of oinoscent sauce cascading, into the blissful aboccalyptic abyss. This cataract of quintessence! of Sublimity it tastes! Such food that buds such Sensation! Gluttony come! Sweet Murder, ye too! Flavour unbeknownst to man ere 8pm! O Cook! adulter of men, where be your hands, that so have braised and burnished this big bird! Thus these four years have this as their reward; the reward of Porphyric abstinence! Tender; thick; yet I confess much much too swiftly torn by well-designed dentals. And as my throat like turkey bold swells proudly, so too do those throats owning to my wretched friends bulge big with whelps of glee.
Demanding a pound of flesh for my hypocrisy, they scoff and scorn my Principles. How can you claim the Noble Title of Vegetarian, O Worm, base Creature of Our Breed? From exalted Pretension, thou joinst us at a Customary Fare. Ye, who railed so long of abstinence pure, to protect and preserve Natura’s Realm, your meaty cake belies a bloody belly.
Yet I, made strong on tender loin, rise tall, profess the Creed and reassure my Policy. Thrusting a licked finger in boasting breasts shout, Be ye numbskulls and nitwits still? That so forthrightly and forthrighteously accuseth me of inconstancy when all you here doth daily slaughter fair and fragile Nature’s breed? I taste this once – an annual treat – and think yourselves vindicated sweet? Call you the Christian Pagan when he does minutely lapse in sin? No! It is the trial and the test – the long race of repentance to salvation that doth win eternity! And how much greater than this religiophile, am I, who thinks not of my own Salvation, but of yours and your dear children. How ill will they then live, when all these geese are gone and the Whole Earth becometh Dust? (Not pre-creative dust of God, but famished, famined dust of over-fished and over-farmed land?) This feather on a pile – this drop among the seas – what signifies your Hypotheses? ’Tis groundless like the Land you decreate with your Habitual Munchings and Misguided Murderings. If I from infrequential vice do virtue gain and strong reaffirmation retain of my non-absolutist Creed, then you, diurnally, do debase and direfully degrade our Planetary Orb and do no absolution take of Nature’s Soul. Call me not Cad for One Small Bite of Goose. Think yourselves Doomed for Tying still the Noose.