Sunday, May 10, 2009
Don't Be a Goat: Confessions of a meat eater 3
Growing up, I usually usually spent a month or more of summer vacation visiting my paternal grandparent's village, located on an eight-mile island in the middle of a muddy river. It was here that I learned the expression, "Don't be a goat."
I was called a goat many times, and knew it meant being obstinate and unwilling to compromise. But I was not offended.
All children are naturally idealistic, and I was no exception. I just happened to remain a goat all my life. After all, if you believed strongly in your principles, why would you ever change them? It didn't make sense to me. I felt that if someone planned on changing their principles, then whatever they say would be hypocritical. Since I held on to mine, being a goat was alright by me, and even though I ate goat meat on rare occasions, I became curious in learning about and meeting a fellow obstinate creature.
One summer in the village, I got a chance to meet my namesake firsthand. I must have been around seven years or so. Johnny, my dad's elder brother, had a brown, male with huge horns. I was probably a foot taller that the goat, but I was standing on two legs and it remained on all four. Besides, I was a miniature kid andthe mature fellow far outweighed me.
It stood majestically, tied to a stake on the roadside, happily chewing away on green leaves on a nearby shrub. After watching it for a while, I decided to move it down the road, closer to my grandparents house so I could watch it in the shade. I untied the knot, pulled up the stake, and tugged on the rope tied around the goat's neck. "Come on, let's go," I said as I stood in the back and on the rope. The ram kept on nibblingcalmly and completely ignored me. I pulled harder, but the animal refused to budge. I used all my strength, and strained with all my might before Ifinally got him to give me some attention.
But it was not the kind of attention I was seeking.
I had made the ram upset. Its eyes and nostrils flared and it lowered its head in preparation to ram me. Now I was the one on the rope. The goat was pulling me along as it backed up. I got so scared, I dropped the rope and ran. It chased me a few yards, then returned to grazing. My uncle was upset because his animal was no longer tethered, but I was too scared to do anything about it. I learned to leave goats alone and respected them a lot more after that.
At home, since goat meat was expensive, it was hardly served. At weddings and other special occasions, goat meat was usually available, but for whatever reason, I hated the taste of it and hardly ate my comrades.