There should be some kind of test people need to pass before becoming a parent. I’m not saying this because I think other people are unqualified. Today, I’m shining the spotlight right on myself.
I’ve matured a lot since my college years. In those days I used to fantasize about having kids and teaching them different names for the colors in the world. What would happen if a kid went through his early developmental period thinking the sky was yellow, grass was purple, and the sun was blue? I had no idea, but I thought it would be fun to figure out.
Still, I’ve done a bunch of questionable things. The lullabies I sang them as infants were all dark Bob Dylan songs, like Desolation Row and Gates of Eden. I’ve taught them each The Aristocrats once they turned three. And I’ve never shied away from explaining to them that meat comes from animals.
There’s also a fair bit of playful teasing. One ongoing trope is that the only animals we might consider keeping in the house are the ones we might eat. Mostly, this is to avoid the specter of pets. I’ve never really been into pets. So this has been a surprisingly effective strategy.
With that background in mind, I want to tell you the story of the butterflies.
Little Miss Fussy got it in her head that she wanted to raise some butterflies. In the house. Which sounded a bit like having a pet. So my first response was to consider how I might eat a butterfly.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that a deep fried butterfly wing, would be light and crisp. With a bit of salt, I bet it would be delicious. Maybe it would be poisonous. I don’t really know. Between you and me, and I really have no intention of deep frying butterfly wings. But it’s a reasonable deterrent to keep all the living non-human things outside the house.
Little Miss Fussy was not amused.
Whenever she would mention butterflies, I would thoughtfully contemplate how lovely it might be to eat their deep fried wings. And that would shut down the conversation. Eventually, the joke got annoying. So I changed it up a bit.
My birthday is next week. And LMF wanted to know what I might want for a present. So I thought about it for a minute. Then with a wink and a smile, I suggested a deep fryer.
Little Miss Fussy was not amused.
Just last night, we were talking more about my birthday plans. I still don’t want anything. Especially not a deep fryer. Man, that would be dangerous for me and my fat tooth. The last thing I need is any way to make it easier for me to get hot, crisp, fried foods into my greedy little mouth.
Although the subject of a deep fryer did come up, even though I had only mentioned it in jest. Which is when we started talking about other ways to fry things, like in a pan with oil, and what the pros and the cons are for each technique.
Which is when the subject turned back to butterflies.
But this time, Little Miss Fussy suggested that she could get two of them. One to live in the house that she made out of a collection of coffee cans, and the other could be for me to eat.
Although, she said, she would still like me to save her a bite.
To which I assured her, I was a good sharer. And with two wings, I would gladly let her eat one of them.
That’s my girl. Although, to be fair, maybe it’s genetic. When Mrs. Fussy was just a girl, her family did eat one of her pet sheep. I can’t remember if it was Valentine or Thumper. Either makes for an equally horrifying story.
All jokes aside. This is where meat comes from. Unless you are vegetarian, you are responsible for the killing of animals for your nutrition and pleasure. And even if you eschew meat but still eat eggs and dairy, killing off unwanted animals is a byproduct of the production of these goods.
While the butterfly thing may sound truly awful, it does teach about the difficult prospect of killing something beautiful for something delicious. And if that’s not something you are comfortable doing, I can totally respect avoiding meat and dairy entirely. But if you are going to occupy a higher spot on the food chain, it’s important to be reminded of the responsibility that entails.