Today was Hug a Vegetarian Day. The timing of this event is uncanny, to say the least.

Alas, I was unable to hug any of my vegetarian friends today, as I was busy getting a haircut, taking care of a couple things around the house and packing for our trip to Columbus for Saturday’s game.

But in honor of my vegetarian friends — all of whom will undoubtedly outlive me by decades — we decided to have dinner at Schmidt’s upon our arrival in Columbus. And yes, my veggie friends, I ate about 30 sauerkraut balls (Schmidt’s uses ground bratwurst in theirs!) and a gigantic plate of meat. I did this for you guys — by eating more than my share of sausage tonight, I feel like I’m making the world a little bit safer for my vegetarian buddies.

There is one vegetarian friend in particular I would have liked to hug today — my second-favorite vegetarian in the entire world, in fact.

(My most-favorite vegetarian friend is Fred, not for his devotion to vegetarianism, but for how violently he fell off the wagon. That started on a trip to Italy, when he accepted a taste of prosciutto on the flight there, basically to be polite. That triggered something in his brain, because he started making and eating his own sausage — really good sausage, too — just a few months later.)

But as I learned earlier this week, hugging my second-favorite vegetarian friend in all the world isn’t a good thing to do. I did it anyway a few days ago, unaware of the context — I was going for a cheap laugh — and also of her, uh, violent opposition to being hugged in general. Had I known, I definitely would have passed on the joke.

Instead, I offer this — a plate of meat (OK, that was mostly for me) and a virtual hug for her. And that’s as close as I’ll ever come to the real thing ever again. Promise.


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