“What is the cow’s recovery time for beef brisket removal surgery?” I asked the butcher as I stood in front of his glass case at the supermarket. “What the heck is beef brisket, anyway? I mean I hope the cow wasn’t too seriously injured by the removal of its brisket.”

“Recovery time? Ma’am, there was no surgery. The cow did not recover. The cow is…”

“And what about this so-called cottage ham butt?” I added. “What if the pig didn’t live in a cottage? What if he lived in a condo? Would that be called a condo ham butt? What if he lived in a highrise in Upper Manhattan? Wouldn’t he then be called a penthouse ham derriere?

At least I don’t feel guilty about ordering the chicken wings,” I said. “Chicken wings are pretty useless appendages, anyway, since chickens can’t fly well. After their stitches heal, they probably are as good as new, right?”

“The stitches?” asked the puzzled butcher. “Ma’am, I don’t think you understand. All these animals are…”

“Wait!” I interrupted, “Look at those chitlins in that case over there. That pig probably managed just fine without a couple feet of his intestines, although he probably had to join a colostomy support group. How much did you pay him for that? Two or three bucks a pound?”

“I didn’t pay him anything,” answered the butcher.

“No kidding?” I asked. “All the animal parts in your case are donations? What noble and selfless acts from those animals. I am impressed. Except perhaps for the vanity cuts.”

“What vanity cuts? What do you mean?” he asked.

“Mister, you and I both know those chicken breasts over there are the remnants of chicken breast reduction surgery and that rump roast is a product of successful beef liposuction. Now that ‘Bossie’ has lost her dimpled cellulite, she probably looks great in a pair of jeans.

But what about that cow tongue over there?” I asked. “The poor voiceless beast will spend the rest of his days unable to respond to passing motorists who drive by his field, roll down their car windows, and say, ‘moooo,’ All he will be able to answer is ‘mmmmm.’ That’s so sad. He probably had to take sign language classes just to communicate with his herd.

How about those frog legs?” I added. “Did you perform the amputations yourself? I hope you at least provided those paraplegic frogs with tiny crutches and wheelchair ramps for the lilypads.

Honestly, it is getting so I dread choosing a cut of meat knowing that some unfortunate animal has been disfigured on my behalf just to satisfy my appetite. Worst of all is the organ donors.”

“Organ donors? What organ donors?” he asked as he nervously signaled for the store’s security guard.

“Well,” I added, “It’s bad enough that the cow who donated that beef kidney over there has to endure a lifetime of dialysis, but the removal of his liver meant certain death just so that your customers can enjoy a dish of liver and onions.”

“Of course it meant death,” snapped the butcher. “I am not a veterinary surgeon. I am a butcher. Those are blood-stained paper doilies, not satin sheets. Don’t you get it, Lady? They’re all dead, you idiot!”

I walked away sniffling and dabbing my teary eyes with a tissue. Why didn’t somebody tell me? I’ll never eat another piece of meat, I vowed as I headed for the produce department. I will become a vegetarian. I am pretty sure that nothing had to die in order to nourish my body with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Uh-oh. What’s this? Artichoke hearts? Ears of corn? Eyes of potatoes? Ribs of celery? Oh, my word! The heads of lettuce and cabbage! Eek!




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