Skip the Steak (Short Story)

Uncertain's picture

I'm on a writing spree!

For once something not as depressing? No?

Right now face the wrath of global warming.

Agen, feedback would be fantabulous. Electrifying even. Okay I should stop.

(idea and style adapted after reading several articles in the time magazine =])

(Idea and credit of the fourth paragraph go directly to an article I read on the time magazine)


Skip the Steak (Short Story)

The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions – even more than transportation…

Skip the steak. Or stop driving my BMW? Hard choice I know, but last night I knew when I brake at the intersection and devour on my Big Mac, I’m about to drown some kid in Tuvalu. Or submerge some poor village in the Pacific Islands. It’s not a good feeling. I say that to myself as the car in the rear honks. I accelerate. I swallow. I just killed 10 unlucky people half way across the world.

When I get home, I become particularly anxious about how I’m destroying our Earth. I check my mailbox and realise I haven’t paid my book club fee and carbon tax. I walk into my house and realise the old and energy demanding lightbulbs flicker and give off a buzzing hum in the corridor. I better change that. Then I realise there’s five more in the house. By golly! I squeal as I realise Brian kept the air condition on. I scamper and scurry while holding my shopping to shut off the AC and open some windows. My shopping is heavy. I drop the armada of plastic bags in the kitchen. Plastic bags end up in landfills. I look at the abandoned bus card in my wallet as I take out the receipt. I store the proof of payment in a desk drawer and realise what an asshole I am.

You can say I’m not particularly eco-conscious. But it’s really getting me eco-anxious. Day by day I learn about some new way this planet’s going to give up on us. Yet in the same absurd way I obtain knowledge of some obscure method this world is going uncompromisingly green. I look out my window and pay attention to the Smiths next door. Their house has been painted a peculiar wholly white knowing it absorbs less heat than any other color. That’s their part played to stop global warming. And the Carters three blocks away vowed not to use any toilet paper for a year knowing each roll slays 52 square metres of innocent tree. I clutch onto my Kleenex toilet paper tightly as I remove it from my hoard of shopping. I smell it even. I like my toilet paper. I like it a lot.

So the Smiths and Carters save people, while I’m the one slaughtering them. They are the angels, I’m the devil. No matter how freakish people have become, in desperate times people resort to desperate measures. I’m no longer supposed to be the norm. I think of those poor people dancing in grass skirts on some remote isle. Or oblivious people sunbathing on the Bali beach. Suddenly ice caps melt, the ocean rises, munching and dissolving away this prophetic vision. Hey it’s not like the natives can pick up their Island and paddle somewhere else? No?

Guilt washes over me. Then I hear Brian entering the house and my heart feels a little lighter. I hop off my seat. I fly to the door to see what he got for our delightful dinner tonight.

We sit at our table and for a moment I forget about the heating earth and flooded city squares. He dims the light in our dining room. He lights candles and he gives me these unusual but beautiful flowers. In faint candlelight we slowly slice and eat our steak.

Wait, steak is an abomination! I wonder if burning candles warm up the Earth. Whereabouts did he get those flowers! Are they from a local supplier? The closer to home, the less they rack up petroleum miles! Somehow I just don’t feel the love tonight. The romance is dead despite the soft light and fragrant smell that diffuse into the serene background.

Then I realize. Ideas are infinite. I can paint my house pale or declare war on toilet paper by sacrificing the logistics of paperless hygiene, or even have bake sales to stop global warming. Whatever floats my boat. Yet the reasons for not riding the bus or become a die hard vegan usually boils down to one. It’s inconvenient. It’s easier to load things in plastic bags. It’s simply more painless to use the air condition, the BMW, and the dishwasher.

I’ll still change the six aging lightbulbs in the house. Yet that may not be enough. I’m a yeti of carbon footprints. It’s depressing knowing that steak and Big Macs kill. But I convince myself in some bizarre way that it’s okay, because I’m also helping out the kids in the developing world. Chinese children make our happy meals possible. Something along those lines.

I’m a bad person by these standards. I’m not trying to save the world like the rest of the world. By new definition, I’m the freak and the psycho. My partner is completely unaware. He still chews on his steak. I still think it’s nice of him to bring me flowers and scented candles. But the dishwasher broke tonight and for some reason I find it incredibly romantic when he does the dishes, by hand. I like it.

-- Max


jeff's picture

In a recent Roling Stone magazine...

Al Gore was interviewed, giving his usual spiel about how there is no time left, we need to act on global warming. In the introductory text, it mentioned that Al Gore was grilling steaks while they were talking, which led me to think, if Mr Green, Mr. Nobel Prize Al Gore isn't willing to connect these dots, we're sort of screwed.

If me being a vegan, not owning a car, having compact flourescent bulbs in my apartment, and on and on... if I'm doing more than Al Gore on a personal level, that's a bad sign. Carbon offsets are a money making, unregulated Ponzi scheme, so if that's his fallback... it's really over, no?


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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Leu's picture

Nice, I like it. I think

Nice, I like it. I think toilet paper is one thing that will definitely not be given up, by me anyways! Very amusing take on the whole thing.

Uncertain's picture


Yeah, it's extremely ironic the man who's supposed to care the most can't even make sense of the whole thing. I think we're pretty screwed. We all know how to make a little difference but we're just all too lazy to even budge.

And, thanks Leu glad you appreciate my stories hehe. But when we're really really desperate, I wonder if our grandchildren will know what toilet paper even is.

Lol-taire's picture

loo roll

We could use live geese. Like Rabelais.

Obviously he was joking... geese are really, really angry birds. You'd have to use a more docile fowl.