Friday, October 31, 2008

Carnivores and English People

In the early aughties I found myself in beautiful, historic York for a work trip.  The number of per capita drinking establishments in York makes Chicago look like Carrie Nation's wet dream. It's awesome.  Every night after work, I'd hit the pubs with my British colleagues.  The first night, someone made a joke about Americans having a world series with only one country in it.  Uproarious laughter among the Brits.  I responded (amusing no one but myself) that, to be fair, sometimes there are two countries in the World Series.  

The next night someone made the same joke.  And the next.  And the next.  And each time, the Brit making the joke was sure he was the first one to goof on an American with it. The more it was repeated, the less of its already limited punch it had.

"Look, English people," I thought, "I'm neither embarrassed or humiliated on behalf of my country (well, for the World Series thing anyway).  But your eager recitals of the same joke are kind of adorable."

Which brings me to the carnivore thing:  Over the past 10 years of my vegetarianism, I've been greeted with the "you probably need protein" joke a million times.  Usually it comes in some variation of "you don't like meat because you need protein." And hilarity ensues. It's like the World Series joke, with legumes standing in for Canada (probably not for the first time). The jokester amuses like-minded people without having any particular effect on the person he aims to disparage.  Which is fine, it's just not particularly clever. 

I thought carnivores and English people should know.  You're welcome.