Chapter I: The Legend of Shiny – An Introduction
So, Shiny — how did you become a vegetarian?
Well, it was the summer of 1989. I was a rising senior in high school. I was about to embark on a teen trip across the country associated with the Jewish youth group with which I was involved. By that time I had tried being a vegetarian before — in fact, my family didn’t really eat that much meat anyway. But I didn’t consider myself a vegetarian at that time.
And then I met Robin.
Robin was a kid on my trip. Beautiful. Stunning. She seemed so grown up for someone who was a year younger than me. And so smart. So friendly. She and I shared a love for the musical Chess which was written by members of Abba and which spawned that One Night In Bangkok song. I was smitten.
Robin was a vegetarian.
Look, I thought: Robin’s smart. She must know what she’s doing. I’m practically a vegetarian anyway! Meat has never been such a huge staple for me. Besides — it’s only just about a step further from keeping kosher, so it’s not a total lifestyle change.
And it would mean that Robin and I would have that in common! There was my “in!”
So I became a vegetarian in June of 1989. And I let her know about it. She smiled. We were both vegetarians. I was sure this meant that we would be together.
We weren’t. She was nice enough not to explicitly say “let’s just be friends,” but it was obvious. Yet I stayed a vegetarian.
The kicker? In October I will have been married to my wife, an avid meat-eater, for ten years. Yet I’m still holding to my vegetarian ways nineteen years after meeting Robin.
And now — to make that song run through your heads nonstop for the next few hours…