Am I a cow? This is the thought that blasted through my head right in the middle of my philosophy class. A look of despair crossed my face as if I had just been told that the Meximelt machine at Taco Bell is broken for the fifth time in four days.
I am in the middle of an ethics class, and we discuss animal rights. We discuss cows and whether it is right to keep them overcrowded in barns or to take calves and put them in cages so they won’t get exercise. This makes extra tasty, tender veal. I think of the prime rib that I had the last time I went home to California (I’m too lazy to grill one here at school). Then, I glance around the classroom. I am 6 foot 4 inches tall and weigh approximately 177 pounds. Some say I spend too much time in the gym; others help me with my 12-ounce curls. I do not fit in those desks all jammed together like smokers outside of J Street. I believe there are 30 or so of us in this room sitting in desks, and I look around for the fire hazard warning sign to find out what the real deal is. Perhaps it is buried beneath the bulletin board overcrowded with fliers for grad schools outside of our sacred borders. I can just imagine some student filled with excitement because he found the perfect program of Canadian punk rock in Mozambique. Then, he goes up in flames. But I continue looking about the classroom because I enjoy applying our philosophical discussions to my life.
The thought came to me because I see classes filled well beyond their capacity. Our class itself has more than four sitting on the floor, and we can’t steal chairs from the other classrooms because others would have to sit on the floor. Contrary to the capitalist ethic, that wouldn’t be right. Who is going to speak up for us cows? I wondered. I felt cramped as if all my studies were going to lead up to me being served tenderly on the big fat plate of today’s job market (with garlic, mashed potatoes and asparagus smothered with the creamy, creamy goodness that is hollandaise sauce). I am being fattened up for the market, and I am either a prime piece or the hunk of gristle that gets chewed and spit back onto the side of the plate. I check my neck to make sure there is no bell.
I am chewing gum, and all that does is remind me of cud so I spit it out. I literally feel like mooing. Like belting the longest, most pathetic moo you have ever heard. Have you ever really truly felt like mooing your heart out?
I am a sad cow because I know where I am being led and wonder if my moos will be heard. I think of the cows destined to be Kobe steaks. They are treated well with room to walk around and good grass. They get massaged. They are given every opportunity to be the best piece of meat they can be, and once they fulfill that destiny, they go for top price. Kobe cows don’t get stuffed into small barns so as to infringe upon a lifetime goal.
I blink and my daydream into bovinity fades as I refocus on the bulletin board. Class is over, and we all are herded out of the room. I peek one more time for some kind of regulation against this. Hey, did you know there is an Aristotelian Culinary School in Yemen?