Eat your heart out

The holiday season tends to remind me of two long-established pastimes: killing animals and breaking up. Surprisingly, theyâÄôre fairly interchangeable. IâÄôve endured my share of yuletide heartache, and when IâÄôm torching my lying-dickhead-ex-boyfriendâÄôs Christmas present over the open fire, I am often struck by the similarities this ceremonial act holds to roasting a turkey or, say, broiling the ham. The parallel becomes particularly poignant when I pretend that my hypothetical turkey was actually a childhood pet named Tom that I single-handedly raised from the roost and showered with affection until the day that I cut off his head. To be honest, I stole the latter story from my friend. He once told me about his childhood turkey named Tom that his family inevitably killed and devoured for their Thanksgiving feast. I think he was going for ironic humor, but I was mostly disturbed. IâÄôm not a vegetarian, yet I find it difficult to believe that creatures with such beautifully sad, heart-charming eyes are born incapable of human emotion. I often wonder if farm animals bred for slaughter truly understand the sinister nature of the relationship with their caretakers. Do they appreciate that extra bucket of slop on the weekends, the occasional head pat or extra hour in the pasture? Or are farm animals completely aware of their sick destiny, so much that any act of kindness on behalf of the farmer is simply a double-edged dagger? And if they are aware, why donâÄôt more of them try to escape? Have they accepted their fate, or are they still waiting for the perfect moment to incite their barnyard rebellion? This leads me to my tirade on relationships. Who, in their right mind, would willingly enter into an intimate pact with another person, knowing full well that in due time there will be a bloody and brutal breakup in which your significant other will more than likely rip your heart out and attempt to eat it? And we imply that animals are stupid. Seriously. Do we even know ourselves? Sure, the first six months are heavenly. ItâÄôs like when baby piglets are born and everybody wants to cuddle. But they eventually turn into stinky, ornery pigs, and you find yourself asking: âÄúWhat the hell was I thinking? I guess IâÄôll just fatten them up with a little more love and then end it all.âÄù There is no amicable way to break off a relationship, just like there is no completely humane method to kill an animal; even if there were, I doubt we would use it. No, itâÄôs much easier to cart them off to the slaughterhouse, drop a curt text message or, better yet, show up at the pasture with a brand new playmate. Of course, most of us continue to reenter the dating scene despite our fears. Personally, I am a sucker for guys who can wink. A good wink will gain my trust immediately. This is incredibly stupid, given the fact that a wink usually implies that the wool has just been pulled over your eyes. But alas, IâÄôve found that girls will accept almost anything in search of the real thing. And unlike Santa Claus, IâÄôm sure it exists. Thus, farm animals continue to maintain a blind faith that their keeper might be kinder than most, and we trek on in our quest to find The One. If we get burned in the process and end up on the dinner table, remember that karma exists, too. While everyone is laughing over the death of Tom the Turkey, odds are good that at least one of you will end up choking on a turkey bone. Ashley Dresser welcomes comments at [email protected]