I can’t do anything / Contradictions / Blown by the wind


8:06 p.m. on Friday evening.
I’m getting off the train returning home from a long work day in Manhattan.
Susan and Zeke greet me at the train station for our walk home.
Zeke’s tail is wagging wildly, his head on a swivel searching for a present to bring to Dad.

“Eric had a bad day.”

I’m still winded from walking up the stairs from the platform.
The weight of the work week lifts, and anxiety flushes in.
My pulse starts to race. I’m gulping for air.
Bile rolls up my empty stomach and sits gnawing in my throat.

No. Please, no. Not my Son.

“He went to a bull fight with his friends.”

Panic begins to ease. Ms. Drama’s overstatements, or my fatigue misinterpreting degree of “bad day”?

“They left before half. He said there was one bullfighter. The matador has six ‘assistants’, 2 mounted on horseback, three flagmen and a sword servant. Six men looking to kill a single bull. He said it was barbaric. Sickening. He had to get out of the stadium.”

It’s less than a 1/2 mile walk home. Susan is briefing me on the rest of her day. I’m quiet, stewing. And, trying to shake the lances leashed in the bull’s neck, with the crowd lusting for death, but not before more suffering by the Bull.

My mind whirrs back to our cows, and works its way forward.

Click. 1966-1976.
We raised milking cows. Susie. Maggie. Gentle creatures, offering us sustenance in milk, cream, cheese and yogurt. We’d sell the cows after they aged. There was no killing by this family. Highlight of road trips during away hockey games: McDonald’s. Golden Arches. Big Macs. Billions served.

Click. 1985.
Semi-annual visit to a top client’s “office.” A slaughterhouse. His white smock is covered in dark stains. The sounds: Of fear. The smell: Of Death.

Click. 2006.
India. New Delhi. Hot. Dusty. Crowded. Cows roaming free on the street. Cows: calm amid the organized chaos. Sacred. Recommendations from colleagues: ‘Don’t drink the tap water. Stay away from the salads. Stick with the Meat dishes.’

Click. 2010.
Temple Grandin. A movie on an autistic woman who falls in love with cattle and becomes an expert in animal husbandry. She creates a humane design for the treatment of cattle in processing plants, reducing the level of fear and stress.

We round the corner to the house and Susan shifts the subject.

“What would you like for dinner? Burgers or Pasta?”

“Pasta would be great.”

I can’t do anything—
(my life of) contradictions
blown by the wind.

~ Santōka Taneda


Notes: Quote Source: Yama-bato. Bio for Santōka Taneda. Photo – veganmovement2012 via madame scherzo. Bull / Bullfighting street art: Spy-urbanart.com


  1. all roads lead to one place. compassion.

    ps – i saw temple grandin speak last year – amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can only imagine Eric’s horror – I can feel it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The world is full of barbaric spectator events (cock fighting, pitbull fighting, running of the bulls, bullfighting). Civilization hasn’t really progressed much in some aspects.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I so hear you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. click, rest your mind, click.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love reading about how your mind clicks pictures into life, brilliant. How we react to “bad anything” when our child is concerned is familiar here too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. David, I love reading your words that convey the clicks of your mind. You do that so well. I ‘clicked’ back to a night when I joined a few friends who went to see my trainer, a boxer, at one of his fights. I couldn’t take it either – the violence of this ‘sport’ was just too much. I can’t paraphrase myself – so, this: http://paperkeeper.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/whiplash-of-a-day/. The book reviewer says keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A post after my own heart…thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can only echo the sentiments of others here. How anyone can derive pleasure through witnessing the suffering of another living thing escapes me. Running a marathon is sport. This, this leaves me grasping for words. All I could think of as I read this was how much I adored my “Ferdinand the Bull” books as a child…. THAT is the way I want to see a bull..frolicking in the fields smelling flowers… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yes. Growing up with milk cows named Dolly and Angel, and breeding cows called Sarah, Bessy and Kay, I get this. The oldest and the sickest were always treated with dignity and never allowed to suffer.

    don’t ever read the book “Skinny B*tch” ~ the stories shared about slaughterhouses on the authors’ road to Vegetarianism haunt me still.

    I’m glad there are sensitive young men like your son out in the world … not everyone lusts for power, blood and gore!



  11. Smiles from this vegetarian.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Laughing at the “Bad Day” scene – Real bad huh? And the quote at the end of the post was cherry on the chocolate cake.


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