I don't eat much meat anymore, pretty much only for bets or dares. I think the last time I ate meat was at a Thanksgiving dinner; I sucked some marrow out of a bone. I do eat fish because of sushi, which is so delicious that I would eat it if it were baby flesh.

I tapered off eating meat in stages; I stopped buying meat because I would leave it in my refrigerator until it rotted, I started getting breaded eggplant sandwiches instead of breaded steak, stopped ordering it in restaurants, that sort of thing. And then a miracle happened.

In the late 1980's, I went backpacking for a week with some vegetarians. We carried sacks of potatoes, onions, all fresh vegetables; no dehydrated, decadent crap for us, no sir. On the fourth morning I got up, took a little walk with the shovel, dug my cathole and took a squat. After a bit, I recognized that something wonderful was happening. When I stood up I looked down and saw a perfect turd in the hole. I had just had the best shit in my life. A fecal epiphany. Gorgeous. Up to that point it was my longest meatless stretch and I didn't eat much meat after that.

I can still eat meat, but I do have to mentally prepare myself. If I'm surprised by the taste of meat (the other day I ate some cheese that touched some pepperoni) my gorge will rise and I have to spit it out. But if I say to myself "I am going to eat that piece of meat, it will taste like meat, so get ready!", I can do it. It is weird, however, how long I have to chew on that wad of flesh in my mouth. I would eat meat if I was a guest and the host offered some, in a situation where refusing might seem an affront.


- Erik Newman