Let’s start with the obvious: I’m not calling meat eaters hypocrites. No, friends, I’m not doing that. Nor would I. Nor am I. Nor would I. But I am admitting that, back in the dim and distant past, I was a hypocrite.
It’s true. For you see, friends, I wanted to be a vegetarian for a long time. I hated the thought of animals being killed just so I had something to eat. But, Gawd love me, I wasn’t willing to give up bacon sandwiches or prawn cocktails. Or steak. Or roast lamb with mint sauce, or a full English, or sausage sandwiches, or sausage rolls, or bacon-wrapped sausages or spaghetti bolognaise. I even had a certain fondness for Spam. Spam! I was in deep. I hated the thought of eating animals but I ate them anyway and that, friends, is why I was a hypocrite.
It’s true. I was living against what I knew to be right. People who eat meat because they don’t mind eating animals, or because they live according to the food chain, aren’t hypocrites. But I was, because I did mind, and because I didn’t care about the food chain. I wasn’t convinced by any of the pro-meat arguments. The classic ‘it’s instinct/it’s nature’ stuff never did it for me because, if we’re honest, it’s instinct to mate with anything going and shit wherever we stand but generally we choose not to. Generally we date in a civilised manner, exchanging pleasantries before penetration occurs, and we set aside private rooms for the private business of expelling poop. I was unconvinced by the pro-meat lobby but, still, I ate meat, for I was a hypocrite.
I was. But then one day came an epiphany. An epiphany, I say! There I was, in dressing gown and slippers, my pipe warming the palm of my hand, my glass of port sitting empty and appreciated on the table beside me, the end credits of the latest episode of America’s Dumbest Idiots crawling majestically across the screen of the television before me. As I stood and bid goodnight to my porcelain-skinned lady, whose latest tapestry was nearing completion, my attention was drawn to a small spider crossing the floor in a cocksure manner not dissimilar to that of a young Jack Nicholson. I did that night as I had done many times before. I bent down and picked up the spider, cupping my hands gently so as to not crush the creature, and made my way to the front door to release him back into his natural habitat and keep mine for myself. It was then I was struck by a curious notion: Here I was, sparing the life of a creature most would have trampled underfoot and yet earlier that evening I had tucked into a pleasant supper of cold ham and boiled potatoes. “This is hypocrisy”, I thought. “Fuck me backwards if this ain’t a double standard!”
I didn’t kill animals and I didn’t approve of hunting, but I did allow animals to be killed on my behalf and once they were dead, I ate their corpses. Suddenly I realised their taste was irrelevant, and that hypocrisy was a bigger issue to me than vegetarianism. If I didn’t want to have double standards I’d either have to stop eating meat or start killing insects. So began the great insecticide of 2004. Millions of bugs died. Millions more were widowed.
Not really, of course. I just stopped eating meat and felt good for it because I wasn’t a hypocrite any more, and I wasn’t asking for animals to be killed any more. Now my actions were in line with my ethics. Now I was living according to my conscience. And there was something habit-forming about living that way. Something that made me want to live according to my conscience in all areas of life.
My life as a hypocrite had come to an end. My future stood before me. Where would this new life take me, I wondered? Perhaps to a life of helping my fellow man. Perhaps to a series of bland, unsatisfying meals. Perhaps to a do-gooding website that undermines its good intentions with its silliness and sarcasm and love of swearwords. Perhaps, little Zero. Perhaps.