I have met the enemy and
she is babelicious.
People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA) sent two Lettuce Ladles to Jefferson City to persuade
the populace of the Missouri State Capital not to eat meat. "Go
Veg" read large buttons on the bosoms of the comely pair who talked
to a wildly apathetic audience of about five in front of the Capitol
one noon hour.
They were offering free tofutti
ice cream cones, made with genuine soybeans (real dairy products are
forbidden to PETA members---taking milk from cows is a form of stealing...and
of course we all know that keeping animals in captivity is slavery).
One young boy slurped at
the toffuti because no eight-year-old kid ever turned down an ice cream
cone, especially from a lady who does not look like Miss Frizzby, the
third-grade teacher with the mole on her chin that has hair growing
I respect women much more than men. I'd much rather work for a woman
boss than a man because they listen and are willing to try new things,
and I'd much rather hang around with women because they aren't afflicted
with testosterone poisoning, and they're more fun to look at.
But when women go around
dressed as salad all bets are off and ridicule is permissible. Not just
permissible ---it's mandatory. It's a shame that two young women (okay,
stone foxes) suffer from a serious brain fart that makes them go around
dressed like edible greenery, but who am I to criticize a bikini-clad,
very attractive pair of people? Especially when I don't exactly challenge
Pierce Brosnan, a PETA member, in the looks department.
And especially when the young
ladies are bursting with health---out of their skimpy costumes.
Actually, they did attract
more than five people. There were about 15...but perhaps ten of them
were newspersons, armed with television cameras, reporters' notebooks,
and still cameras. I noticed that the guys waited until the ladies bent
over to take most of their photographs (so did I, come to think of it).
PETA gets much publicity
because when two comely lasses slink up to a reporter with tofutti dripping
down their wrists and whisper sweet nothings about the way livestock
is brutalized and that hunters are perverts with nothing but killing
on their minds, it's a tough-minded reporter who can take notes, eat
a soybean ice cream cone and keep his eyes above chest level.
Every guy there restrained
himself from saying, "Uh, you got toffuti dripping down your arm.
Want me to lick it off?" But what she was saying remains a mystery.
"What did she say?" they ask each other.
"Who cares," the
next guy replies, wiping the drool off his mouth. "I gotta get
back to the darkroom and see what develops!"
In a way I feel sorry for
the Lettuce Ladies. Even though they were the coolest thing around,
thanks to skimpy clothing, they were crusading in a town full of hunters
and meat eaters. Jefferson City does not have a health-food restaurant
and vegans are in a distinct minority. It was like preaching against
the evils of gambling in a Las Vegas casino. Furthermore it was 90 degrees
and humid, so if there were any PETA supporters or any protesters espousing
the bloody side, they were hanging out in air conditioning, far from
the Lettuce Ladies and their melting toffuti. It's pretty sad when you
can't even scare up a few red-faced protesters for the television cameras.
It's also pretty sad that
real news is so scarce that a bunch of reporters would gather to interview
and photograph two babes dressed like Bugs Bunny's snack food. But then
that's Jefferson City (and I suspect the word had gotten around concerning
their lack of modest attire-it may not be news, but it beats covering
One reporter asked about
the propriety of a PETA billboard near St. Joseph that pictures Mary
breast-feeding the baby Jesus. She launched into a spiel about the evils
of cow milk and how natural feeding was far better for babies, which
probably is true, but I started thinking about the sanity of a group
that claims to be natural but uses a billboard, something as unnatural
as snot on Miss America's chin.
When it was all over and
I had time to think about it, I remained unconvinced by PETA. I plan
to keep my bird dogs in slavery and force them to hunt every fall (they'd
much rather be free to hold paws with the wild things). I haven't given
up barbecued ribs yet, even though they came out of a baby's back.
But when I think about the
Lettuce Ladies I have this almost irresistible urge to slather them
with Italian dressing and dig in.
Joel Vance is the author
of Down Home Missouri (When Basketball Was King and Girls Were Scary
($25); Tails I Lose ($25); Bobs, Brush and Brittanies ($22); Grandma
and the Buck Deer ($12 softcover); and Billy Barnstorm the Birch Lake
Bomber ($I5-two 90-minute tapes of humor short stories read by the author).
All are available from Cedar Glade Press, Box 1664, Jefferson City,
MO, 65102. Add $2/bookfor S/H.