Monday, October 22, 2007

A moral(?) dilemma

I'll update everyone on my dam adventure later in the week. Yes I just said "dam adventure" and no that isn't swearing. (You children!) I still have to go over some pictures with Brad so I can post them. So, I want to talk about something a little more serious.

As most of you know, I'm finishing up 4 months without meat. I haven't had too much trouble with it, and most people have enjoyed talking about the pros and cons with me. The only issue I ever had was that people felt they had to treat me like a sick child. Like they had to make special meals and go to extra lengths because of my condition. But that didn't last long and it actually became a funny inside-joke amongst my friends. Skip ahead to last Friday.

I had a meeting with one of our marketing reps in the afternoon. When I set up the meeting earlier that morning, I told the lady it was going to be a busy day and I probably wouldn't get to eat lunch. Well, she felt bad for me and bought me a McDonald's meal. Three problems with that: I don't eat meat, I don't eat McDonald's, and I don't drink pop. I really struggled with how to deal with the situation.

All I could say was that I hadn't had pop in 7 years. She was really impressed with what she called "my willpower" and gave the drink to one of my tellers. But the meat and McDonald's thing were harder to explain. I couldn't figure out what to say. I don't eat McDonald's because that stuff is pumped so full of chemicals and artificial stuff they never fully reveal, and the fact that it's horrible for you. And the meat thing? I don't actually consider myself a vegetarian, just giving it a test drive for the fun of it. She had another meeting after mine, so I had figure out how to easily explain either one of those things in a brief one sentence explanation. How do you do that without starting a whole dialog? You don't. So I didn't. I just put the bag on my desk and we had our meeting. As she was leaving I told her thanks for buying me lunch. No harm, no foul.

But I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I was raised really well (in my opinion) when it comes to food. My parents made sure I ate what was placed in front of me, no matter how gross or unfamiliar it seemed to me. No excuses, no faces, no complaining, no nothing. The point being if I was at another person's house, or with people from another country, I wouldn't offend them by insulting their cooking or their culture. To this day I thank them for instilling that sense of propriety within me. So what's changed?

My parents also (sometimes despite their best efforts) instilled in me a sense of independence. A sense of making my own decisions and being responsible for those decisions. One of those decisions is my McDonald's one. I have great issues with a company that uses grade 4-5 meat and vegetables, most of which is injected and coated and cooked in stuff you wouldn't touch with your bare hands. I have major concerns for the citizens of this country that eat fast food more often than they eat dinner as a family. Those are major issues that we just overlook because of convenience or pure laziness. I, for one, have no desire to eat food that will take 15 years off my life or take away my sense of family unity. And I'm not willing to bend on those principles.

So why did I have such an issue explaining myself to that lady? And why have I been having so much inner-turmoil about the situation? It's almost like my two views are fighting each other. My desire to not be hurtful is battling with my desire to stand for something I believe in. Which one is more important? Should I just get off my soapbox and stop doing my stupid little willpower tests so I can live a harmonious life amongst normal people? Or should I be true to myself and let the chips fall as they may, hurt feelings and all?

There's a lot more banging around inside my skull on this, but I'll let you think on this much for now. What do you think?


Blogger Brooke said...

There is nothing wrong with testing your willpower in this fashion, on the contrary, keep going you seem to be doing well. McD's bothered you on more levels than just the meat, so don't fret my friend, it appears you did the right thing. :) way to be

4:42 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

Don't worry about it. :-) You do what you want to do. Not everyone likes that stuff....and most people don't know that! LOL!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Brad B... said...

Well Samuel... i respect your decisions in life... a lot... you do demonstrate your willpower day in and day out... but i also think that when you make a decision like being a vegetarian or any decision like that, you also make the decision to maybe step on some peoples toes... now it seems to me that most people would be understanding... but im sure that there are those who would be a little insulted... so thats my opinion... and you know me... dont give in Sam... step on some toes...LOL

6:12 PM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

I don't know, but I feel like a double cheeseburger now!

8:04 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

you would get along well here in pittsburgh, i have met more vegeterians here than anywhere else in my life, and there are grocery stores that only sell organic foods... and they're not all that expensive either. there's even an all- organic urban farm being started here at the pittsburgh project. I seriously think you need to come visit sometime.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...


just kidding....but seriously........

I have to leave right now becasue this coffee shop is closing but I have some comments I will e-mail to you

10:47 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

well, golly-gee - I skip a few hours of blogging and you get not one, not two or three or four, but seven comments?

Personally, I don't think that all personal commitments need to be broadcasted, particuarly if it doesn't really do any good in sharing and could, possibly do harm.

Sharing your convictions with a stranger isn't going to bring them to Christ or lead them to a happy, healthy life and therefore, I don't think that being polite is at all wrong.

You wouldn't expect someone saving themselves for marriage to walk up to every member of the opposite sex and say, "I'm a virgin." So, I don't think it is required of you to tell all meat-product eating, pop drinking, chemical inducing, vile grease filled french frier(okay, maybe a little over ambitious) that you are not any of the above mentioned things. :)

1:43 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Adrienne, you made me laugh aloud. You sure do have a way with words.

Kimmy, Ell loves double cheeseburgers from McD's. I personally used to like the $1 McChicken sandwich.

This is a good opportunity to make an an addition to my thoughts. My dislike for Mcdonald's has nothing to do with the taste of their food. They wouldn't be in business anymore if they didn't offer some tasty, mouth-watering options. They are still in business both b/c their food tastes good and it's convenient. Both of which are good business.
My problem is that McDonald's has just made it so easy to eat their food that people don't even schedule time for family meals. That's sad. And everything I already said about the quality of their food makes it despicable that we shove it down our's and our children's throats without even thinking about it. We wouldn't eat poison, but yet we find nothing wrong with a slow poison like McD's. I, for one, choose not to eat it for those reasons.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yeah, your meat eating wife does like Double cheeseburgers every once in a blue moon. I agree that your decisions are strong and can offend some people sometimes, but this may also make people think too. I appreciate your independance and the way that you stand up for yourself and your beliefs everyday. That's what makes you so dang amazing and what helps those of us that still like to visit McEDee's question our decisions and make the right ones hopefully.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

I'm with you on the family meals, Sam. So many people never sit down as a family to a home-cooked meal anymore. I'm all for good home-cooking and as you know, I do plenty of it!

But, on that rare occasion when I'm in a big hurry or traveling, I do so enjoy that Double Cheese;-)

2:24 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I think it is important to stand up for what you believe in and to be unshakable is something to be commended. This can easily be the difference between right and wrong in my opinion. Because the things that YOU have decided to do may insult people , doesn't mean you should just give in. However it's one thing to do it respectfully and its another to step on peoples toes. If you know whatever it is you are doing is different and you find pleasure in the fact that you have these different ideas than I think you need to question why you are doing those things.

Now your parents raised you to eat whatever is in front of you. But you independtly have decided no to McDonalds and meat for the time being. It is physically impossible to do both, so I think respectfully turning it down was fine.

Lastly, there should be no soapbox in an issue like this. Thats when you step on peoples toes.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Zoooma said...


Question: would you eat something put in front of you if you were allergic to it and it might hurt and/or kill you?

Well, a Big Mac might not kill you but isn't eating only healthy foods on par with the above?

"Sorry, I only eat what's healthy."

Personally, I think it's a moral objective of ours to look out for other people as well as ourselves. That includes what people eat and drink. This doesn't mean one has to always alert everyone ever about what they're taking in, and it doesn't mean one has to go and lecture others about Mickey D's, and soda and etc... but when it comes to someone offering you something that they think is harmless, just say: "Sorry, I only eat what's healthy." Might wanna even include some facts about how stuff like Mickey D's is unhealthy. If they don't care about their own health then, well, you tried and you kept your system clean of that toxic goo.

While some might consider you rude, I wouldn't see myself as rude in saying such a thing. If caring about personal health and even about the health of others is rude, then ... well, that's mind-boggling that someone would think that way!

9:57 AM  

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