Saturday, October 10, 2015


Even as a puppy her husky was averse to meat. It would beg for bits of salad at the dinner table. Her guests thought this amusing, but she warned them: “This isn’t something to laugh about.”
     Later her husky would only eat grass. She hardly needed to mow the lawn.
     She decided her husky wasn’t a husky, but a cow. Even two zoologists from the university agreed: “It’s a cow.” And the husky himself barked proudly: “Cow!”
     Some pointed out that her cow couldn’t produce milk, so couldn’t actually be a cow. They pointed to the sleek gray fur, the pointy ears, the canine shape.
     Then the Supreme Court weighed in: “It shall be called a cow.”
     The husky was so happy at the news that he barked all night for a week.
     What's more, three of four academic studies now suggest he can in fact produce milk.
     The community brings the dog salad three times a day. After months of this treatment, he’s gotten pickier. He demands romaine lettuce, only organic.

The kids in the geometry class I teach wondered why they weren’t allowed to draw four-sided triangles.
     “Because a triangle has three sides,” I said. “That’s the meaning of the word triangle.”
     “That’s just ideology talking,” Susan said.
     By the next week they were all drawing rectangles and saying: “See? Triangle! Triangle!”
     In the teacher’s lounge I talked to the principal about this odd class.
     “You shouldn’t call them odd,” he said. “Four-sided figures also have a right to be triangles.”
     I continued to teach the class my way, Euclid and all, doing my best to get them through the theorems, which wasn’t easy without triangles.
     Some parents complained.
     Then the Supreme Court weighed in: “A triangle is a three- or four-sided figure.”
     "I told you to be careful on this," the principal said.
     They didn't renew my contract.

She’s a strict vegetarian who loves a good bratwurst. I pointed out to her--she was grilling on the patio--that bratwursts were made from meat.
     “It’s right there on the label,” I said. “Look!”
     I should have kept my mouth shut. First the threatening phone calls, the snubs from neighbors. Now her vegan friends have started picketing my place of work.
     Eight of my Facebook friends have unfriended me.
     “Just ‘cuz you’re not vegetarian yourself doesn’t mean you have a right to hate them!” one messaged in explanation.

Eric Mader

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