I was in the process of moving to a city which reminded me somewhat of Columbus, Ohio. I arrived somewhere and as I stayed here my environment continued to change so I was able to see different living accommodations. I finally decided on one lodging in particular and it was brought into clearer focus around me.
A black-haired woman friend of mine (probably in her late 20s) had given me a present the previous day. Today, I in turn, was going to give three certificates toJudith (a Dallas acquaintance) with which she would be able to obtain three presents like the one I had received.
I had already bought the three certificates and had placed them all in a beige manila folder which I had in my hand. Each certificate looked like a small catalog brochure and consisted of four or five pages with colored pictures of the items which the bearer would be able to obtain with the certificates.
As well as some very pretty pottery and other glass items, on the front page of the certificates were pictures of some colorful stained glass flowers in the upper right corner. These were exactly like the present I had received the previous day and represented what Judith would be able to obtain.
Judith walked into the room where I was, I mentioned that I was going to give her a gift and said, "What I'm giving you—I'm giving you three of the same thing."
She likewise was planning to give me a gift although she didn't yet have it ready. She sat down to my right on the couch where I was seated, took out a pen and paper and began drawing something. I saw that she was drawing a picture of a stained glass flower exactly like the one on the front of my certificate. She finished and handed me a certificate exactly like the ones I planned to give to her. I felt a bit awkward because I had planned to give her three certificates instead of one. So I just pulled one of the certificates out of the manila folder and handed it to her.
As I had pulled the certificate out to give to Judith, I had noticed the receipt for the certificates also in the folder. I thought I had only paid $25 to $30 for each certificate. But I saw that the total price for all three certificates had been $123 and some odd cents.
Judith and I sat down at a table. The present I had received the day before had become a luxuriant salad, which I began eating. As I ate the salad, the woman who had given me the present and some other people walked into the room and sat down. After they were seated, my environment, without my actually being aware of it, again changed, and transformed itself into a small cafe, with the same people still seated in the room. Other people were here whom I had recently met who either lived in the same house as me or nearby.
One fellow (probably in his late 20s) who had just entered interested me and I began talking with him. I already liked him although I didn't yet know him well. He was slender, had short dark hair and was wearing glasses. He told me he was a scientist and that he worked with trees. I was impressed. I stood up for a moment and told him I myself was interested in trees and had just recently planted a number of walnut trees on some land in Ohio. I explained to him that my grandparents had a large farm of about 400 acres and that someday I would own part of that farm. He seemed interested in that fact because he seemed to need somewhere to plant trees. I thought perhaps by talking we might even be able to arrange something whereby we could plant trees together.
I certainly hadn't planted my trees scientifically. Many different grades of walnuts are produced from walnut trees. I however had planted my trees from random seedlings without knowing what kind of walnuts would be produced.
As we talked about the walnut trees, I once slipped and described the trees as maple trees instead of walnut trees.
I was interested in the prospect of harvesting nuts from the trees, but I was much more intrigued by the future value of the lumber from the trees. We began talking about when I might actually be able to reap money from the trees.
He seemed to think I might be able to harvest the trees in 25 to 30 years, but I said, "No. I think that they will not be fully mature, ready for possible harvesting, before 100 years. In the meantime, in 40 years from now, I could mortgage those trees standing right in the field."
I didn't mention my age or how old I would be in 40 years because I didn't want to bring that up, but the idea of mortgaging the trees for very large sums of money was extremely exciting to me. I was enjoying taking with the fellow.
Someone mentioned the fact that I was a vegetarian and the fellow said, "You're a vegetarian too?"
He told me he was also a vegetarian, asked me if I ate fish and I said, "No. I don't eat fish. I don't eat any of it. Once in a great while I will eat some fish. But it is very rarely. It usually happens when I'm moving or I'm in a strange place and I become very hungry and give in. But I never eat any other kind of meat. It is definitely an evil thing to do. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching, but it's just a simple fact that it is evil. And it's especially evil for people who have come in contact with vegetarianism and understand what it stands for to eat meat."
A girl who reminded me of Marcia Gillman (an acquaintance) was sitting at one of the tables in the cafe. Her ears seemed to perk up when I mentioned that eating meat was evil and she asked me why I thought that.
Quite a few other people were listening as I spoke, but I turned to Marcia and directed my attention to her because she seemed so interested in the subject. I asked, "You really want to know the reason?"
She said she did and I said, "There are a number of reasons. If you use reason and truth, then you can logically reach the conclusion that it is evil in this day and age to eat meat. It is simply an evil act that people perform."
There was no doubt in my mind that I was correct in what I was saying. If one were to discuss "evil," then meat-eating could definitely be focused in on as one of the evils of the world. I continued, "As a matter of fact, it is the most evil thing that is happening in the world today. The other evil things that exist in the world today are not the most evil things that people think they are. It is meat-eating that is the most evil thing in the world today."
I began thinking of all the reasons why eating meat was evil, focused in upon one reason in particular and began to explain to her, "Half the world's population today is starving. The reason those people are starving is because there is not enough food in the world today. I know that there are other reasons and that lack of food is not the only one. There are problems of supplying the people even if there were enough food. But nevertheless one of the reasons is that there simply is not enough food to go around for the people today the way it is. It takes sixteen pounds of grain, which could be used to feed those people to produce that one pound of beef which you're stuffing down your gullet."
I had almost said throat instead of "gullet." I wasn't actually sure what a gullet was. But I thought it was the throat of a bird. Marcia seemed to have a bird-like quality about her and I thought it was an appropriate word.
I then cupped my hands together to try to represent bowls of one pound of grain. I then acted as if I were sitting the bowls of grain in front of her and each time I set one down I emphasized it by uttering, "Unh." I thought perhaps I should have actually counted each bowl up to sixteen, but she was getting the message. I continued up to sixteen to visually show her how many bowls of food could be provided from that one pound of luscious meat which she had to eat.
The message that the eating of meat was an evil thing had definitely gotten across to her and she had grasped the concept. I felt I had conveyed the knowledge of the evil that she committed and that now she had the choice of deciding whether she would continue committing the evil act of eating meat.
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