Tenth Annual Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet: Best of Edition

Huzzah! It’s the 10th year of my Annual Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet series so I thought I’d bring you something both novel and lazy (who’d a thunk I could pull both of those off at once?): My favorite grievances from lo these past nine years along with a treasured runner-up. It’s the Annual Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet awards in a way! But without any ceremony, lots of bitter cackling and old resentments reignited. What’s not to love?

I have to say, it was interesting going through the many years of disgruntled alphabets because it showed me how much has improved since 2009 from the perspective of living as a vegan. Sure, there are still lots of aggravations and reasons for feeling isolated as a vegan but things have improved a great deal as well. Has this curmudgeon become a Pollyanna? Well, not exactly but things seem to be on a upward trajectory.

With that, I bring you my Tenth Annual Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet: Best of Edition.

A is for Ah, so you want me to believe that cows magically produce milk. Did you opt out of the sex ed unit in high school for religious reasons or was there a funding cut? (2015)

Runner up: A is for Another flaky “former vegan” celebrity just went on a talk show and is now on the paleo bandwagon so could we please stop already with the celebrity worship? Pretty please? It never ends well. (2014)

B is for “But what about the Inuit? But what about the Native Americans? But what about the lions? But what about the microscopic insects you kill? But what about soy? [Yeah, what about it?] But what about eating humane meat? But I’m part Italian. But eating meat is how I honor my ancestors. But I was raised eating meat. But I give a blessing. But I give thanks. But my guru said it was okay. But I need the protein. But I am allergic to soy, wheat, all grains, all fruits and all vegetables except for celery. But I need the iron. But I just eat a little meat. But I don’t eat red meat. But I only support the best farms. But…” (2014)

Runner up: B is for Bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Bacon amuses. Bacon enthralls. Bacon makes your eyes glaze over with lust. Bacon-wrapped bacon with whipped bacon dip on the side served on a bed of bacon. Sentient creatures lived lives of misery and died horrific deaths to become edible punchlines. Ha. Bacon. Hilarious. (2011)

C is for Complicated, as in, “Hi, I’d like to order the Tofurky sandwich without the mayo. Unless you have Vegenaise. What? It’s soy mayonnaise. No? That’s okay. Also is your soy cheese vegan? Because sometimes it has casein in it. Casein. It’s a milk protein. I don’t know why they put casein in soy cheese. Yes, it’s stupid.” (2011)

Runner up: C is for the Chilly reception a vegan gets when she announces that she wants to be on the holiday food planning committee for her office. (2015)

D is for Diversionary Tactics, which re-route us from honest and thoughtful discussions about the ethics of eating animals to pulling up a chair at the all-you-can-eat “lions-kill-gazelles-plants-feel-pain-what-about-the-Inuit-people?” smorgasbord of random delights from Excuseistan. (2012)

Runner up: D is for Dinner with the extended family. As in: “I looked at the menu at the crab house, and you can get the pasta without sauce or you can get the plain baked potato. They also have crackers. So you should be able to eat there perfectly fine.” (2011)

E is for “Extremists.” Really, you want to call vegans extremists when you are literally feasting on the bodies of feeling animals who were brought into existence for the sole purpose of being eaten while young? When you are consuming the reproductive byproducts of forcibly orphaned babies? Vegans are extremists? Mmmkay… (2017)

Runner up: E is for arrive Early to the vegan potluck or all you’ll get to eat is hummus. Lots and lots of hummus. (2011)

F for Forgetting, because it’s embarrassing when you forget that one of your friends is not quite vegan and it just dawns on you after you said something pretty snarky about how gross it is to drink milk and then it’s all awkward between you. Oops! (2012)

Runner up: F is for Former vegans, often meaning someone who, curiously, was never vegan or was between breakfast and their mid-morning snack one day in 1996, but is still taken as the final word of authority on Why Veganism Doesn’t Work. Guess what: I am a failed omnivore. I just couldn’t keep doing it; it was too gross. I didn’t feel well. ‘Kay? (2013)

G is for the Gushing from your foodie friend about how tender her chicken is and WHY DOES SHE THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR THIS??? WHY??? (2016)

Runner up: G is for Gotcha moments, and, no, you didn’t “get me” with your inquiry about what my shoes or coat are made of but try again, sport, because this endless game of pin-the-tail-on-the-hypocrite never gets old or predictable (2014)

H is for Hitler was not a vegetarian, actually, and if playing that card is a way for you to justify your meat-eating — and imply that vegans are a bunch of mass-murdering dictators at heart apparently — I raise you Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin and on and on through the ages, all meat-eaters. (Like Hitler). (2017)

Runner up: H is for Humane meat. How can babies be taken from their mothers humanely? How can females be forcibly impregnated, males be castrated without anesthesia, and so on? How can a knife sever the jugular vein in a humane fashion? You can gussy up the fairy tale scenario however you like — the animals can dine on fields of organic, tender mesclun mix, they can enjoy massages while Michael Pollan reads them selections from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, they can frolic in the flowers like Bambi and Thumper all the livelong day — if they are being killed for unnecessary food, it ain’t humane. Why is this so hard to understand? (2013)

I is for If you eat that tuna fish sandwich at your desk in the same office as me again, it is my right to open the window, pinch my nose while gagging and wave a folder to disperse the air and, no, I am not being passive-aggressive. It really is that putrid. (2013)

Runner up: I is for, “I’d like to get the burrito without cheese or sour cream. Right. No cheese or sour cream. Right. Could I just get extra guacamole instead? I mean…I’m not getting the cheese or sour cream. A dollar extra? But I’m not getting those things that are costing more so it kind of evens out — oh, never mind. I’ll eat at home.” (2010)

J is for the Jack of All Trades who strikes up a conversation with you about the “problems with veganism” at the annual company holiday party: he’s a dietitian, an anthropologist, a historian, an elite personal trainer, a philosopher, a biologist and an expert on world cultures all rolled into one. And you thought he was just an accountant. (2012)

Runner up: J is for that Junk science video you posted about “plants feeling pain.” If this is more persuasive to you than, I don’t know, the lack of a central nervous system and an evolutionary incentive for pain reception and you ignore the fact that far more plants are indirectly consumed when eating a diet that includes animals, I am going to have to question if you are really sincere about your convictions. (2014)

K is for Kid, in that you can kid me about eating sticks and leaves but the second I mention the words “ovum” and “carcasses,” you get upset. Sure, that seems fair. (2013)

Runner up: K is for the Keyboard warriors in their parents’ basements who have devolved to only speaking in GIF form now with their anti-vegan arguments. And I thought you were lazy when you just randomly shouted “MMM…BACON” all the time. (2017)

L is for Let me get this right: In order to “prove” that vegans are hypocrites, I am supposed to accept your hypothetical scenarios about being stranded on a deserted island and speculation that plants experience pain but you can’t even visit the reality we live in? Oh, yes. That seems reasonable. I hope you’re happy in your special fairytale land. Ohhh, look! A sparkly unicorn! (2013)

Runner up: L is for Logical Fallacies because whether were are talking about a strawman argument (“Vegans hate people and only care about animals!”), the slippery slope argument (“If we stop eating animals, they will take over the world!”) the tu quoque approach (“How can you talk about animal suffering when you are stepping on bugs, hmm?”) and an anecdote (“My cousin was vegan for two weeks and she almost died from a protein deficiency!”), these are all examples of the logical fallacies people who want to continue eating animals will wrap themselves in like a warm blanket. A blanket with a bunch of holes in it nonetheless. (2014)

M is for Magical Thinking, which brings omnivores a whole host of interesting diversions, such as Plants and Their Feelings, All I Eat is Happy Meat, Death is Life/Life is Death, By Eating Animals, I Am Showing My Respect for Them and more. The realm of Magical Thinking is a shiny, happy place that omnivores can skip off to whenever they don’t want to face the reality of their habits. They can stretch out on a puffy cloud, float over a crystalline pond and frolic with the glittery free-range unicorns any time they like through their Magical Thinking escape hatch. (2012)

Runner up: M is for Maintaining my enviable blood pressure despite society’s best attempts to make me irate because I’m vegan, man. At least I’ve got that. (2013)

N is for “No, Mom, I didn’t see PETA stripping on the news again. What does this have to do with me, anyway?! (2011)

Runner up: N is for the Namaste-spouting New Agers who try to justify eating animals and are so self-involved as to claim that “judgments” are worse than unnecessary violence and destroying the planet. Altogether now: om… (2014)

O is for the Orange wool scarf you got for Christmas and you need to try to exchange this year without a receipt. O is also for limiting the Occasions that will come up for your aunt to see you in the winter without it. (2010)

Runner up: O is for Opinions, which we shouldn’t mistake for facts, right? Like it is an opinion that the life of a tomato and the life of a chicken are roughly equivalent but it is a fact that plants and animals have very different anatomies and physiological functions for evolutionary reasons and purposes but let’s not let facts stand in the way of a little romp in the land of Magical Thinking. Oooh! Glittery unicorns! (2012)

P is for the Panicked look on the person who just realized he ate something you made so it must be vegan and he thought it was actually good and now he suddenly doesn’t feel so well and, oh, no, does this mean he’s turned gay or something??? (2015)

Runner up: P is for Passive-Aggression, without which we wouldn’t have hostile family meals, a persistent mispronunciation of the word vegan by your significant other, knowing smirks between coworkers when you get the leather gloves in the Secret Santa gift exchange, your brother-in-law describing veganism as a “lifestyle” with little quotation marks that just seem so snarky with his stupid, mean fingers and other really fun things like that. (2012)

Q is for Questions: Do you get enough protein? Are your shoes leather? What about the homeless? Did you hear that tofu will make your son start menstruating out of his nipples: I read this in a very reliable study funded by the Weston A. Price Foundation… (2010)

Runner up: Q is for Quack because, honestly, you can send me all the wackadoo videos you want from that chiropractor talking about how soy will turn boys into girls and how our “inferior protein sources” cause our brains to shrink like thirsty little walnuts and how vegan children are all pre-diabetic Children of the Corn and I still won’t believe you. (2012)

R is for Rights, which omnivores are pretty obsessed with, as in their “right” to eat or do whatever they please as opposed to another being’s right to live free from intentional harm. Clearly the “right” to a pepperoni and cheese pizza is more worthwhile and valuable than a sentient individual’s right to sovereignty and self-protection. (2012)

Runner up: R is for Raw foodists on Youtube who make all the other vegans look like obsessive flakes. Please, I beg of you, stop talking about how menstruation is a sign of a toxic body. Stop talking about your armpit hair, too. I shouldn’t have to say this. Yet… (2017)

S is for being Self-righteous because it’s better than being self-wrongteous. (2014)

Runner up: S is for the Steamed vegetable plate at your niece’s wedding and the Snacks in your car that you keep thinking about if only people would quit toasting the bride and groom already. WE GET IT and we have low blood sugar. (2015)

T is for Turducken because what kind of twisted, Caligula-minded sadist invented this grotesquery? (2014)

Runner up: T is for the Take-out that you forgot to check before you left the restaurant and now you are hungry and you have just opened a container of Chinese food with chicken and eggs and you will have a wait 45 minutes before you can get the right one and you should have just cooked dinner and the guy on the phone repeated back the order and why does the world have to be so stupid?? (2013)

U is for “Um, did you just call tofu gross? Oh, it is on, my friend.” (2015)

Runner up: U is for the Universal sign of warm weather, which means that when I can finally open my windows for a few months, the smell of charred, tortured flesh filling the air greets me. Yay. (2014)

V is for the Verbose individual sitting next to you on the three-hour flight who sees your vegan button and decides to tell you all about how bone broth has changed her life. (2017)

Runner up: V is for Vegan, long ‘e’, hard ‘g.’ No, Mom, not veggin. How long have we been working on this? No, not vaygun! Never vaygun. I am not clenching my teeth. VEGAN. Vegan. Yes, I’m sure that’s how it’s pronounced. (2010)

W is for When PETA does an embarrassing and insulting advertising campaign and somehow, you become their public face to every meat defender in your life. (2015)

Runner up: W is for Wings as in do you know that people actually sit around and eat a bird’s severed limbs and then dump the bones in a bowl and, um, tofu is gross? Oooookay, then. (2014)

X is for Xeno, as in thank goodness for the Scientologists because as long as they’re around, there will be a population the public wants to avoid even more than they want to avoid vegans. (2016)

Runner up: X is for Xylophone. What does a xylophone have to do with veganism? Well, what does the claim that your neighbor’s sister’s daughter’s best friend was allegedly vegan for a week and her skin turned bright green and then she died of aneurysm have to do with it, or the fact that while being one you still can’t suddenly and single-handedly cure every injustice in the world, or the PETA recently did something embarrassing and stupid that was on the news, or the fact that Drew Barrymore is no longer one have to do with it? So, yes, xylophone. (2010)

Y is for the boiled Yellow squash plate vegans are served at our cousin’s wedding that no amount of salt, pepper, denial or wishful thinking will be able to remedy. This is why an emergency nutrition bar should always be in the glove compartment. (2014)

Runner up: Y is for Yodeling shepherds and shepherdesses are not responsible for your pricey sheep’s milk cheese, I don’t care how much you buy into the humane myth. (2017)

Z is for Zero: the number of original arguments you have heard against veganism in the last five years despite the fact that the person saying it always thinks that it is clever and thoughtful. (2011)

Runner up: Z is for the Zany situations that turn your life into a tragicomedy that will make for an excellent screenplay for a film that roughly two percent of the population might be willing to see one day. (2014)