A Good Exchange

I was reminded today in #gunblogger_conspiracy of a time I made a hippie cry.

I was visiting a few good friends up in Daley-ville (Since I was willing to travel to such a place, one must then note how much I value these friends). Around the time stomachs began to rumble, I believe it was Lord Dixon that suggested they show me to this “really good place to eat, if you don’t mind the fact that they’re liberal hardcore socialists.”

I figured it would be par for the course in Chicago. I had failed to understand just how granola these folks were. It was a with a strange sense of disconnect that I entered the Heartland Cafe. The gift shop portion of the store was filled with an amazing assortment of environmentalist, liberal, socialist propaganda. This was in 2008, and the Øbama posters were particularly hilarious, looking back. (If I ever have cause to travel into such lands again, I shall endeavor to take photos.)

The beer selection was actually decent, if memory serves. We all chose an entree, and the waiter came to take our orders. As I was about to give my order for a chicken dish, I noticed on the menu that it specifically stated the chicken was “free-range.”

I said something like, “I’ll have the chicken…never mind, it’s free-range.  I’ll have this instead.”

“What’s wrong with ‘free-range chicken?'” the waiter asked.

(Now, one must picture this waiter, to appreciate the full effect. He’s dressed in well-worn handmade hemp clothing, has ratty sorta braided, ‘I want dreadlocks’ blond hair, and has a scruffy, unkempt chin-beard of some variety. He’s hygienically clean with no odor, but unkempt in appearance.)

“It doesn’t taste quite as right,” I said

He puffed up to deliver his speech, “It’s 100% certified organic, free-range. It’s free of hormones and chemicals. Not only is the taste more natural, but it’s healthier for you, more humane and environmentally friendly.”

“But there’s no fear.”

“Huh?”

“In the chicken. There’s no taste of fear. Of torment. There are certain juices, enzymes if you will, that are released when an animal lives in fear and suffering – especially at the end of its life. Free-range chicken doesn’t have that.”

“That’s…(lost for words)”

“Nature.  Man is a natural predator. Not strictly a carnivore, I’ll grant you. An omnivore, to be sure, but the taking of meat requires a predatory status.”

“But…it’s inhumane.”

“Which would certainly be a factor if the chickens were human. That suffering and fear brings out a distinct succulent flavor in the meat. I’ll profess ignorance if it arises from the adrenaline or some other internal process. Whether being de-beaked adds more flavor than the confinement or infighting. Or even if it’s the simple fact that this small animal knows almost from birth til inevitable death that it is nothing more than future food with a meaningless existence until the higher purpose of its death.”

At this point, the waiter was very visibly upset. He glanced at his notepad, back up at us, and quickly retreated to the kitchen without another word. One of my friends burst out laughing, another applauded, and Lord Dixon grabed my arm and pulled me out of my chair.

“We’re leaving,” he announced, throwing down some cash for the drinks. “I do not want to eat anything that comes out of the kitchen after that performance, no matter how hilarious.”

Although I was unable to sample the distinctly humane cuisine from the Heartland Cafe, my unshakable reasoning ensured that I did not pay for drinks for the remainder of the evening.  I believe this was a good exchange.