As the weather has been cooling and I started to dig through my closets and boxes (not everything is unpacked yet or put where it should go), I found a beautiful leather jacket. I got this jacket last year, about two weeks before it was too warm to wear it any more and just a few months before I became a vegetarian. So now I have this dilemma - I am a vegetarian largely for moral reasons, but I have clothes made of meat.
I am not going to throw away my jacket, belts, watch bands, wallets and shoes just because they were obtained cruelly. In addition to being impractical and absurd, it would also make their death, however horrible, even more worthless. I'm not a big 'honor their memory' kind of guy, but it seems that it would be awful for nothing good to come out of a terrifying death. In the future, though, I am planning to be more careful about what I buy. I was not aware how deeply this had seeped into my mind until I was out shopping last weekend and I was looking at gloves. Nearly all of them were proudly made of doeskin or lambskin or some other less-than-happy animal.
So now begins the process of finding clothes that does not involve skin. It isn't too hard for the most part - cotton is the fabric of our lives, after all - but belts, wallets, shoes... these things are mostly made up of leather. And at the end of the day, I am pretty lazy. I know that so-called cruelty-free products are available, but they are often hard to find and inferior. I may have to concede a few points here. Because if I am worried about leather, then I should also be worried about child labor and sweatshops. And once I start to wonder how Old Navy can sell a T-shirt that was made in Vietnam (then freighted over here - don't forget the shipping!) for $7 and still (presumably) make a profit, then it's all downhill. I will paralyze myself and again open myself up to the suffering of the world that nearly crushed me last weekend at the museum, except in this case the problem is human greed and not the simple demands that Life makes on itself. Some things, like eating meat and buying leather jackets and fur coats, are easy enough to avoid. For everything else, there's Master Card.