My name is Edmund K Saunders, and I love bacon. There, I said it. Now I can dispense with all the lies and self-deceit about what a spiritual being I am, and come clean about the falsehood I treat my body as my temple.
Man, that felt good.
I know. Meat is full of dodgy things ingested to keep it alive long enough for a fateful trip to the abattoir and a final stop on my plate. It’s chock full of dead animals whose entire existence is predicated on sizzling on my grill. Bacon is worse. It’s full of dead animals that were once pigs, plus tons of salt and fat and – God, I am such a weak man.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I could eat bacon in moderation. But the truth is, I either have no bacon or enough to make me want to throw up. There is no “middle way.” Bacon has mocked all my principles, essentially.
Problem easily solved, you say? Become a vegetarian! Stop eating bacon! Peace in the Middle East! Homes for all the poor!!!
Yes, I’ve tried to go veggie many times. Bacon greased-up my slippy-slider under the bus of many thwarted stabs at vegetarianism. It’s not as rewarding, or easy, to stab an alfalfa salad as it is to stab a rib-eye. So, thanks to bacon, I’m a big fat failure at vegetarianism, which is why I refer to it as my “gateway meat.”
I’m nowhere near the gateway anymore. I ran far, far, away from the gates of meat-free wholesomeness chasing my next kill for dinner. I have been trundling through the forest tearing flesh from its loins, gaily uttering “Chicopee” ever since. There are no signs of a veggie-dog anywhere near my immediate future.
So if I’m going to eat meat, I gotta have me some bacon.
Since I am getting older, my will-power to resist the temptations of cholesterol-laden, salty, gut-sticking meat is getting weaker. My attachments to old, stupid habits I know are bad for me are feeling increasingly difficult to break. My mental craving for creature comforts is growing like a fungus in the rain forest. I am also actually starting to say without a hint of irony “what’s with kids these days.” I grow old, I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.
My forty-something self can’t compete with an upbringing where filling the belly with gobs of whatever hooved beast was lying around, topping it with gravy, and dignifying the meal with a sprig of parsley or a tomato were imprinted for years before I had a say in the matter. My thirty-something self really wanted to be a vegetarian and gave it a real college try. But for the weaker, flabbier, Homer-Simpson-like version of me I am today, bacon is like kryptonite, rendering me dumb to the inner voice of reason cautioning against eating such profoundly shitty food. Reason-shmeeson, ‘ME WANT PLEASURE IN MY BELLY.’
So yesterday bacon drowned any good intentions I had in its vat of grease. I began telling myself a barrage of bald-face lies without my better sense uttering a shred of incredulity. Here’s just a sample of the propaganda Edmund was unleashing as I reached into the freezer to grab that pound of my undoing:
Well, I should just cook the whole pack so I’ll have some bacon handy for BLTs, to add to my salad, or dip in my yogurt throughout the week.
Ooh, this pack is going to expire soon and it’ll free up some room in the freezer.
And my favourite:
You’re not seven. You’re a grown-up with self-control. You won’t over-indulge because you’ve got a handle on your gluttonous, avaricious ego. You’re not THAT guy anymore.
Edmund can be a douche-bag sometimes. I should never have listened to him. He’s the same guy who said while clothes shopping a few months ago “you look good in skinny jeans”; who repeatedly thought it was helpful to say to my ex-wife “I think you’d feel better if you lost weight.”
So yeah, I ate the whole pack. Much like other foods that are almost so bad for you they ought to be outlawed, bacon shares a mysterious quality that allows it to be eaten non-stop until either your heart stops or you run out, but with seemingly no hint of your stomach ever considering the words “cut that shit out, man!”
Then I did yoga this morning. That’s when the chickens came home to roost. Or, I should say, the pigs came home to oink.
Practice is always a struggle when your belly is bloated with rotting flesh. Every time I squeezed my body in a twist, my fellow yogis had to re-live my shame right there along with me. But that’s what a sangha is for, so I still felt loved. We support each other in our practice. I don’t laugh when they fart and they don’t look at me with disgust when I smell like a frying pan from Denny’s. Namaste broheems.
Except, bacon doesn’t smell as delicious when it’s oozing out the sweat glands in your groin as it does while it is filling your home with olfactory ecstasy. It’s much worse than the buckwheat farts and curried lentil-inspired halitosis of my fellow yogis and yoginis. Also, you don’t twist so effortlessly when you’ve got Porky Pig and his eviscerated family scraping along the hundred feet of dark caverns in your bowels desperate to find freedom. Even when I haven’t stuffed my face with pigs my twist poses are crappy so I’m not helping my practice by flouting sensible eating habits.
As I practiced, it became obvious why Edmund was coaxing me away from yoga this morning, “Uh, yeah. Dude, maybe you should meditate for an hour and a half today and skip the yoga. I think you need the extra sit. Om shanti, brother.”
My discipline is solid as a rock. I meditate and do yoga in the mornings. I don’t just lie in bed after first opening my eyes and scroll through social media sites to see how many cat videos I’ve missed. I don’t beat myself up for caving in to the evening sugar-rush with a barrel of Frosted Mini-Wheats just before bed, and then smite God for reeling with indigestion in the middle of the night. I am indifferent to the cat videos other than to condemn their existence after watching them. Unlike others, I obsessively check my social media for the educational content. Like in this post:
Did you know that Krishna is the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu? Neither did I. See, I AM disciplined. I do good things for myself every day, even when I’ve eaten a barn full of bacon for breakfast. The self-improvement continues unabated. I set my alarm with optimism that tomorrow I will wake up when it goes off and not sixteen snooze-buttons later. If not tomorrow then the day after that. Or the day after that. Or the day after the day after that.
Eventually, after the same ruminating I do every morning before finally leaving the warm, loving, non-judgmental place that is my comforter and pillow, I did my sit, and I did my yoga. During yoga I learned what a weak-minded, distracted, inflexible schlub I am. Again. But after yoga, I was feeling good about myself anyway.
That’s what it’s all about. Feeling good and loving myself in spite of the Mount Everest-sized pile of neuroses I need to overcome. Edmund can beat me up all he wants about that but he can’t shout down the calming, self-affirming power of asanas and meditation. Suck it Ed, I got me a couple of grade-A Sherpas.