A farmer's short-lived attempt to give up eating meat

“Will you have another rasher?” my missus asked before horsing one onto my plate straight from the pan.

“What are you trying to do to me, woman!” I cried (my head was addled from what I had just read in the paper). “Are you trying to kill me entirely!” .

“Haven’t you read the paper?” I asked.

“Rashers can give you cancer.”

“No!” says she.

“Yes!” says I.

“Anything more than a lick of one in the day is too much according to this report,” and I waved the newspaper high over my head, the way Chamberlain waved the ‘Peace for our time’ document that he signed with Hitler and his cronies in 1938.

“Experts have said it, so it must be true. For you can’t get much better than an expert,” I explained.

“Indeed,” says she stirring the objects in her pan.

“Would you like a sausage so?” says she, with a laugh.

I roared, “If I can’t have a rasher, what hope have I got with a sausage?

"The warning is on meat of every description. People are dying now, who never died before.”

“But,” says she,

I thought harm like that came from gigantic towers that bellow out smoke, or the gunk that flows from our towns and cities into rivers, lakes, and oceans

“Yerra, no,” says I, “that’s all fine stuff. It’s rashers we have to look out for. Experts,” I stressed again, “have said it.” She just didn’t seem to be getting the point.

Anyhow, I try to avoid death and injury as much as possible, and I swore at that moment never to eat meat again (after my breakfast, of course. There would be no point in letting a delicious fry go to waste).

The following day, Good Friday, was the perfect day to begin my meat fast. I had an egg for breakfast, fish for dinner and a bite of chicken for supper, nothing that constituted meat in my book.

I was proud enough of myself after getting through that day. The following day, Holy Saturday, would be a different matter.

I went to Macroom mart, and met Rathmore Elvis. He was there tying to pick up a few cheap dry cows in order to satisfy the criteria for the disadvantaged area.

He managed to buy two old rakes, and to celebrate, we went to a bar in the town.

The bar had 18oz T-bone steaks on offer, to complement the beer. Swayed by the aroma, Elvis ordered two plates of their finest without consulting me. It was then I explained to him what the experts were saying.

Elvis just laughed. “Hey baby, the experts told the world I died in ’77, but here I am, larger than life.”

“Well you’re certainly larger,” I quipped and he bursting out of his jumpsuit, with the height of high living.

“Look,” he says, “eventually, they’re gonna bring the curtain down, regardless of what you eat.”

And then he burst into singing, “I just can’t help believing... in beef.”

“Well, King,” says I, “if I had my old banjo handy, we would have put music to that.” He was on fire, after buying the cows, and anticipating a sizzling steak.

When the meat was served, he broke into “It’s now or never.”

Once again, Elvis was on the money.

And as we settled into our seats to enjoy this bountiful blessing that comes from the land, you’d have to wonder, is it the scaremongering these days is the greatest problem of all?


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