Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meat-Eaters Are People Too

If you don't eat meat, please skip this post, as I know how you vegans and vegetarians get when we primitive people talk about grilling the flesh of animals over open fires, blood dripping onto the coals, creating a sizzling sound that emits a puff of smoke so aromatic as to cause those who smell it to rip their clothes from their bodies and engage in marauding, raping and other expressions of gratitude to the gods of plumped heifers and gorged pigs.

Omaha Steaks. I encountered them for the first time last year, when a brother-in-law sent me some steaks for Christmas, as he knows I like to grill. He was in Iraq at the time, so preparing the steaks was done with some sense of patriotic duty. Coincidentally, I too had sent a similar package of Omaha Steaks to another brother-in-law for Christmas, he being of that age when you just don't know what to get the guy anymore, and you know he likes meat, so you give him dead steer. The steaks I received were beyond excellent, perfectly packaged in dry ice, obviously good and bloody in their plastic vacuum-sealed containers - and when they hit the grill, I watched as birds stopped chirping, cocking their heads toward the sizzling sound. A group of deer paused in their tracks, staring my way with hungry eyes, seriously contemplating abandoning their herbivore nature. Dogs all over the neighborhood stuck their noses high in the air and twitched their ears, whimpering, while squirrels bowed on high branches, telling their little squirrel children to stop, watch and learn. The sky directly overhead was suddenly darkened by clouds of eagles, falcons and hawks, circling in a mad frenzy, screeching in lust.

And the eating that night! Oh, it was grand! All hail the sacrificed beast of burden! Raise a toast in honor of his noble death, which has provided us with a carnal and primitive feast, the memory of which shall live forever! Omaha had delivered a most wonderful steak, and we were well pleased. Our dog, Roman, still recounts that evening to whatever other dog will listen, and the other dog will drool and chase its tail and finally slump to the floor in resignation, realizing that to hear the tale of the Steak from Omaha is nothing at all like eating it. And Roman will slump with the other dog, and say, "It was the emails and phone calls that put a stop to the Steak from Omaha. And they only let me have one tiny bite." He then sighs loudly and closes his eyes.

All it took was one order, sent to a brother-in-law in St. Louis, and Omaha Steaks has since hounded me daily by email and phone, trying to get me to take the next step on the road to becoming a 33rd Degree Omahan. I politely tell the phone solicitors, "No thanks," and hang up before they can say the next line in their script. The emails go to the SPAM folder and get deleted without opening. I finally found the "stop sending me emails" link and unsubscribed. Not that I ever did "subscribe," but an email address was required for online ordering, naturally. Of course then I got an email telling me how sorry they were that I unsubscribed and "Won't you please take one final look at these great offers on juicy meats for the holidays?"

Omaha Steaks, you have a great product. I know where to find you if and when I decide to buy more of your steaks. But the "if" part of that equation grows iffier every day, as you have gone from a place to get good steaks to an annoying and constant presence in my life. That won't win you any friends around here. It might even make you an enemy.

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