Friends or Bacon?

One could say that I was shocked. But since no electrical impulses struck me, I admit that I simply felt betrayed. My trust in the humanity of college professors had taken a definite blow.

My Shakespeare professor’s words of heresy still sounded in my ears, causing me to reconsider previous philosophical and life decisions.

I envisioned him with his family, watching the ongoing cattle auction. I could picture his concerned face as he watched cattle being bought for butchers’ profit and meat lovers’ pleasure. My Shakespeare professor was a fellow meat lover, but as he observed the cattle sold for future meals, one pitiful cow suddenly halted and caught his eye.

Dr. Achuff confessed to us, his attentive students, that he immediately began rethinking the consequences of his own dietary choices. In one brief moment, Dr. Achuff admitted how he almost made an impulsive, tragic decision: “The cow looked at me, and in that moment, I considered becoming a vegetarian.”

That sentence nearly chilled my Baptist blood.

I selfishly confess that I am not and will never be one of those people who survives without meat. Consider the happier life—the fuller life—with burgers, steaks, fajitas, and tacos.

The look of a dying cow means less to me than beholding lonely vegetables on a bare, meatless plate. After a long day, I desire more than mere vegetables and a fake veggie burger: I crave the satisfaction of devouring a delicious, juicy burger or sliding a succulent slice of crispy, wholesome bacon into my mouth.

I internalized Dr. Achuff’s words again as my mouth watered on crispy bacon and juicy burger reflections.


A cow’s face is not worth more than my happiness.

And then I considered what I had just admitted: I am a selfish individual.

When my professor saw the cow, he was not considering himself or his love for burgers or steak. He considered a lowly cow that was appointed for a butcher. He considered someone else’s consequences over his own desires.

Now, it’s not wrong to be a vegetarian or a meat-lover. I’m simply suggesting that maybe my professor’s pity revealed a deeper meaning.

Personally, I would not become a vegetarian to learn selflessness. Thankfully, sacrificing meat is not necessary. Giving up bacon or steak will not guarantee a growth in compassion for others. Although Dr. Achuff ultimately decided not to give up meat, he still exercises compassion and concern for others—notably as he mentors and invests in his students.

But how quickly do I selfishly harbor my own desires over another person’s comfort and well-being? Am I willing to consider the needs and best wishes of others? Would it take the loss of something personal and valuable to open my eyes to my own selfishness?

That’s my bacon dilemma.

Maybe I should stare into the face of cows more often—if it forces me to consider someone or something other than myself.



You can read this story again and also enjoy other personal stories and poems in my newly self-published book Heartbeats: Life blurbs that define me.

Check it out here!

Available on Amazon in both softcover and Kindle editions.

I would love to hear each of your thoughts!

~Mads 💛💛