On Man vs. Meat

A tiger stalks his prey, ready for its next feast. At just the right moment he seizes it, kills it and rends its hide to get to the meat. It consumes everything: muscle, fat, sinew, organs. The hunter then saunters away, satiated and satisfied, possibly anticipating a post-meal nap, the very definition of carnivore.

Yet the human meat-eater is different. His meat must be processed, thoroughly cleaned and properly cooked. His fingernails aren’t strong enough to efficiently strip the hide from its prey. Raw meat makes him sick. In many cases, he sticks to tender cuts because his teeth and digestive system aren’t designed to handle the tougher parts.

Man’s ingenuity to farm, process, store, and prepare meat notwithstanding, as far as raw nature is concerned it appears that man simply wasn’t “designed” to consume meat.

Can you imagine being like a tiger: leaping onto a fleeing pig, wrestling it down, snapping its neck, and sticking your face into its guts to feast?

That kind of action isn’t natural to us. So what happened? Did Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal set an animal carcass on fire, finding the smell so intoxicating and the taste even better that he gave birth to the world-wide meat industry?

Some people claim to eat meat (or animal products) for protein. Yet it’s interesting that these sources of protein, especially in the case of poultry, cattle, and pigs, are themselves farmed as herbivores.

If these protein sources get their own protein from a plant-based diet, why can’t we?

The answer is simple. No one orders a steak because they want protein; they love the smell of cooked flesh, the way it melts in their mouths.

Yet if it’s at all undercooked, man can get sick. Tigers have no such worry because they’re geared to eating meat. We, in the most natural sense, aren’t, because even if the meat is cooked to perfection, our system can have trouble digesting it.

I’m not preaching. I’m just starting a discussion And no, I’m not vegan or even vegetarian. Becoming so takes a lot more willpower than I can muster up.

But I’m trying.

See you out there!

PS: A reader referred me to this great essay on the same topic. Thanks Chris!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd
Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Wonderland Worker Going Home

They say you can never go home. I believe it.

But I came close yesterday during my first visit to Canada’s Wonderland in over 20 years. As a former employee who spent three awesome teenage summers riding rides, talking to girls, and – oh, yes – working there, it was the biggest attempt to “go home” I had undertaken in a while.

As I expected, many things had changed. Here are some of the ones I found most evident:

1) $3 parking is now $20 parking. Ouch.

2) One of the roller coasters goes into the parking lot. Impressive! Move over Dragon Fyre…way over!

3) Metal detectors on the way in were a little depressing. I guess us skinny kids weren’t security enough, huh?

4) Worker’s outfits seem standardized throughout the park. I always felt bad for the kids stuffed into those polyester pirate suits.

5) The themed music, customized for each Wonderland area, has been replaced by popular music. I understood what they were going for (lutes and harpsichord in Medieval Faire, accordion-based polka in International Festival, etc) but I welcomed this change. Maybe it’s because I was subject to that canned tripe eight hours a day.

6) Aforementioned Dragon Fyre is now spelled Dragon Fire. Just like Wilde Beast is now spelled Wild Beast. Medieval Faire is becoming a memorie, which is now spelled memory.

7) The Minebuster seat was more snug than I remember. Apparently I’ve gained weight.

8) ‘The World’s Fair of 1893’ is now a movie-themed area, probably a holdover from when Paramount owned the park. You can still see remnants of the original theme here and there, but for the most part it’s gone. Not surprising, as I don’t think anyone paid attention anyway. They wanted a ride, not caring if one’s called “Swings of Siam” or “Swing of the Century“.

9) Long gone is the Hanna-Barbera theme, now replaced by ‘Peanuts‘. I didn’t think that Snoopy was a relevant character to today’s youth. There again, I would say the same about Fred Flintstone. Maybe Spongebob Squarepants or Simpsons characters would be more au courant. Anything but cutesy-crappy Smurfs.

10) A bottle of Dasani is nearly $3. Ouch again.

11) I felt like the old man in a formerly-small town (“I remember when this was all trees and grass. Now they built something called Splashworks on it and it’s covered in nearly-naked people eating funnel cakes“).

12) Said funnel cakes are nearly $12. I repeat: ouch.

13) The view at the top of Vortex was great (albeit short-lived), and much-changed with the local development over the last 20 years. One cool thing is that you go over the old observation deck at the top of the mountain, another long-closed attraction.

14) Starbucks. Where once there was never a franchise in sight, we now, even here, have Starbucks.

But many things remained the same; stupid things that only I could notice. The refuse transfer carts (“RTC” in Wonderland-lingo) were still in use. The gates to the backstage area had the same locking mechanism. The employee lunchroom (known as the “Lemon Lounge” due to its all yellow-interior) looked to be in the same place.

And more than anything, it still smelled the same. Especially as the sun went down, the lights went up, and the park began to close, I was awash with great memories of teenage summer nights I’ll never forget.  I can only hope that the kids working there today are having as much fun as I did.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd
Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

This Novel is Dedicated to…?

At a book signing one time, a girl was perusing my novel Raincloud when a man sidled up to her and said, “You can tell how good a book is going to be by its dedication”.

This, I have to admit, was something I was quite unaware of.

The man then smirked at me, picked up my book, and read its dedication aloud:

“To the Bearded One is the Sky

Or in the Ground

Or Wherever You Call Home These Days”

He looked a little astonished. I have a feeling that it wasn’t what he was expecting.

Dedications bestow a high honour on those who have inspired us. Whether it be that certain teacher, a close family member, or anyone else who pushed us on with unwavering support, thanking them in permanent ink is our way of giving back.

The dedication tradition is so cemented in publishing that, although it is usually completely disconnected to anything else in the book, it has its own page and is often times considered a standard part of a book’s front matter, along with the table of contents, foreword, etc.

As you may have gleaned, I like to have a little fun and be lyrically ambiguous with my dedications. Another example of this is the tribute in The Orphans of the Creek, which reads thusly:

“To the Pain I Feel

Whenever You Dance Across my Heart”

So who or what am I talking about? Not to be coy, but I think it would ruin the fun if I confessed their meaning to me. Rather, I prefer the reader take those dedications and apply their own feelings to them.

In other words, who or what has danced across your heart, and left such an indelible mark that it makes you bleed?

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd
Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.