Open Letter of Invitation to Ellen DeGeneres
‘Sup? I heard you talked about using some eggs and caused more panic than an abrupt end to a Mayan calendar. Well, my imaginary BFF, I’ve got your back.
I am huge fan although not as big as I was before. Since I dropped animal products and started living the vegan lifestyle my size has been slowly diminishing. However, the size of my belly is no indication of the intensity of my fanaticism for you. In fact, the smaller I get the more excited I am to get to meet you in real life soon… but more about that near the end.
When I took the vegan plunge back in October of 2011 I was new to the scene and busily learned all I could about this strange new cult of compassion. I originally made the life change because of health reasons but quickly learned that there were many less selfish reasons to stop eating, wearing, and using animal products. I’m not saying that living longer and looking more and more like I did as a high schooler in the late ’80s is a bad thing, but I found there is so much more to being a vegan than getting skinny enough to pull off a Flock of Seagulls haircut and a Frankie Says Relax tank top.
One of the highlights of my early veducation was learning about the people I admire who were already living the lifestyle. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince didn’t get my heart pumping. Pamela Anderson… meh. Mike Tyson? Really? Now Bill Clinton was a happy surprise. As a recovering McDonald’s addict myself it is good to have him on the list. However, even counting the former leader of the free world I was most excited to learn that you were living and promoting veganism. I’d watched everything you ever appeared in, including Ellen’s Energy Crisis (yes, I rode it before EPCOT wimped out and changed the name). Basically, you rock and I was glad to have you as a role model.
Fast forward to about a week ago when you told the world that you use eggs. You explained that they were not caged hen eggs and that the producers were actually happy chickens. You were rational and eloquent and not in the least bit apologetic, which seems to be the three things that piss some vegans off the most.
I found most vegans to be supportive and helpful when I was making the transition and learning the rules. However, I found that a number of them were very protective of their label and quick to henpeck me into silence if I strayed from the established path. The group of supporters that followed my blog were almost always as compassionate toward me as they were toward the Animal Kingdom, but free range vegans who didn’t know me or my story were often rabid with their insistence on what made them vegan and everyone else a vegan failure.
Then early last summer during one of my zombie-like shuffle-jogs I was ruminating on these compassionate haters when I had my epiphany (BTDubs- I find oxygen deprivation to induce the best epiphanies). I was on an uphill struggle when I realized that I wanted to be like a vegan but I didn’t want to be like those vegans. I realized that they were probably just very proud of themselves and wanted to protect the label that they proudly used to identify themselves. Out of respect for them I abandoned the vegan label in exchange for my own: veganaut.
ve-gan-aut /VEE-gun-ot/ (n.) 1. a person who is exploring the rewarding vegan lifestyle without actually meeting all of the vegan tenets all of the time. 2. someone who lives like a vegan but makes occasional allowances for transgressions without giving up the vegan lifestyle afterwards. 3. any omnivore who is experimenting with plant-based eating or vegan living. 4. a person who is sick and damn tired of defending their own personal brand of veganism and prefers to have a label nobody can argue with. An example sentence: Sarah is a veganaut because even though she is almost always vegan, she wears leather shoes and eats cheese fondue once a month with her Mother-in-law and has some turkey on Thanksgiving.
Now with your egg announcement I am hoping to add another example sentence to this definition that Websters Dictionary should be including in the next year or so when the word takes off: Ellen DeGeneres is a veganaut because she lives a compassionate vegan lifestyle except for her decision to use the eggs of happy neighborhood chickens.
The veganaut community is ready to accept you with open arms. We are a growing group of individuals who are supportive of each other and anyone else needing shelter from criticism and the finger pointing that can occur. We understand that you catch more flies with agave nectar than you do with vinegar so we focus on the positive and forgive and/or accept each other (and ourselves) without question.
To your critics, dear Ellen, let me say what I’ve said to thousands of my young students over the years: Blowing out someone else’s candle will not make yours burn any brighter. Pride and righteous indignation can turn ugly when they are used to judge others.
I hope that you will consider adopting the veganaut label and joining our non-judgmental crew. We have a private Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/) and a secret handshake and we are working on a secret language called Tofurky Latin. More than anything, we have a desire to celebrate any victory that moves our global population a step closer to understanding that humans are not the only beings on Earth who deserve our respect and compassion.
Feel free to have your people call my people (um.. me) and we can work out the deets about when you’d like to have me on the show. I don’t mind riding coach and please don’t feel obligated to put me up in the nicest hotel. Second or third nicest would be perfectly OK for a simple guy like me. In the meantime, I am going to practice my dance moves. Obviously, I’m going for a variation of the Chicken Dance.