The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

May 22, 2010

Hey man, got any more red pills?

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Matrix take the red pillThree years ago, I took the red pill and swore off plastic.

Last year, on my hands and knees sopping up a spilled glass of wine, I found another red pill under the couch and, mistaking it for a vintage M&M, popped it in my mouth.  I haven’t had a drink since.

This February,  a third red pill fell out of a book I was reading, and I swallowed it before I realized what I was doing.  I think you know what happened.  I just can’t look at meat without seeing the living animal it once was.

So, I was just wondering if there were any more red pills I should worry about finding because all this “Wonderland” is getting to be a drag. For example, last night, I was out having drinks and appetizers at Chevy’s with my workmates.  Their drinks all involved Tequila.  Mine was pineapple juice and seltzer.  Their drinks came with plastic straws.  I made a scene by refusing a plastic straw. Their food consisted of various combinations of pig, chicken, and cow that they shared with one another, while mine was the Farmers Market quesadilla and no sharing.

I know what you think.  You think I’m going to whine about not having as much fun as they and how unfair it is that I can no longer join in the merriment.  On the contrary.  I did have fun.  I had a swell time.  And my quesadilla rocked.  (How can you argue with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers and cheese?)  I had fun as long as I didn’t think too hard because when I did, I turned into Judgy Judgerson.  Seriously.  And the judging judger had thoughts like,

How can they take plastic straws so casually when they’ve read my blog and they know why plastic is bad?

How can they eat meat without thinking about the actual animals they are putting in their mouths?  Why aren’t they getting grossed out by eating crispy charred animal parts?

Aren’t they embarrassed by how silly they sound?  Don’t they realize how shitty they’re going to feel tomorrow morning after so many margaritas?

How can they not see what I am seeing right now??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!

In short, it sucked to have my brain last night.  Today, it’s awesome not to have a hangover.  And it’s a freakin’ miracle not to worry that in my stupor, I left my wallet or keys or cell phone or glass straw or backpack behind in the restaurant.   And it’s nice to have escaped with my ethics intact.  But the judginess was a real drag.

I’m sure all the judging will pass with time and experience.  At least, I hope it will.  But like I said, I just wanna know if there are any more little red pills hiding in places I least expect them.  It would be nice to have some advance warning, if only to spare my friends from my evil thoughts.

Oh, who am I kidding? My friends are fine.  It’s me I want to spare.  Me who is suffering from the machinations of my mind.  And truly? Seeing through that shit?  THAT will be the final red pill.  That will be me realizing I’m actually living in the dream world of my own thoughts, unwilling to face the ultimate reality.

In fact, that gigantic red pill is sitting on the desk  in front of me as I type these words, right next to the blue one I take every night to go to sleep.  And I can’t decide which one to swallow.  The decision is too big.  Too hard.  Feels like annihilation.  So , okay, keep the little red pills coming if you want.  I can deal with those until I’m ready for the big one.

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First of all, the farmers market quesadilla IS in fact amazing, and I applaud you for recognizing it. Here’s hoping your next “red pill” won’t be dairy.

Second of all, I totally dig your anti-judging struggles. In my experience, peace comes when you let go of what you can’t control. And you really can’t control other people’s actions, try as you might. You can give bring them to water, but they’re still gonna drink those margaritas.

Third of all, sucking on a straw all day will give you wrinkles, so that’s another thing you won’t have to deal with. ;)


I looked up judgmental. The dictionary says… 1. Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment: a judgmental error. 2. Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones Taking these definitions, I don’t see how it is possible not to be judgmental. That’s how we decide how to live our lives. So I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself for judging. Nobody likes to be nagged, put down or reprimanded, however, so speaking up to friends about judgments can lose those friends. The most influential method is to live by the judgments you have made, not to avoid them and… Read more »


I’ve been there. Eventually your friends will age out of drinking too much. Presumably they’ve also thought about your stance on meat/plastic/alcohol and actively chosen a different path. If you can’t handle that, then I’m guessing you need to find new friends. Or, if the friendship is worth it, you need to accept them for who they are…


I’m very surprised about this plastic-free attitude, and I think it’s a really good thing. I’ll try it, for sure. One question, have you considered to go vegan? Because diary’s impact on health is being highly discussed. And morally, there’s no real difference between meat and diary for the use itself, for the suffering inflicted, and for the connection between these two industries (organic or not). Pretty much the same about eggs or milk. Besides, plastic-free in clothing implies wearing fur, wool, leather or feather based winter clothes. How do you do with this issue? Maybe these are questions you… Read more »


This is probably pretty lame, but you’ll make different friends. But you probably don’t *want* different friends, right? Your friends are great, right? But after awhile you realize nothing is really exciting about going out and watching other people get plastered. It’s not even funny to hear their stories. You just think, how freaking pathetic. I have a coworker who likes to do some of the things I like to do… we go thrifting together, do crafts (we work at a craft studio), and sometimes go out to eat. But she always talks about parties or going out drinking or… Read more »


Okay, I’m not really on board with being nonjudgmental. YMMV, of course. A friend of mine wrote a great post on this topic recently, which he said I could anonymously share, and I thought you might enjoy it or at least find it interesting. I’m pasting it below: It’s like that other “bad” word, “discriminate.” You can end an argument by saying “that’s discrimination!” — but we’re supposed to discriminate. We are supposed to judge. We are required, by the nature of humanity, and for the good of society, to know that one thing is different from another, and to… Read more »


I understand exactly where you’re coming from. After years of meandering around various versions of veganism, then moving back to ordinary vegetarianism with the reasoning that we’d just moved to Dairy Central (New Zealand), I was new, and I wanted to fit in, and at least by eating normal vegetarian food, the options when I ate out were present, rather than having my veganism shove it face in everyone else’s. But dairy doesn’t sit well with me, I’ve put on weight, and I’m just not happy eating the stuff. I get all addicty when cheese is around, and I was… Read more »


Ah, I can identify with lots of this – and I feel your pain about the straws. After a holiday in Bali, I lost count of how many times I said “No straw, please”, only to be delivered a drink with a freekin straw in it. It happens here in Australia too.. I think some people will never get it about meat, plastic and chemicals; although attitudes are changing compared to what they were… 20 years ago (I am 35) I would have whipped though several bottles of SLS laden shampoo per year that came oozing out of a plastic… Read more »


It’s really tough sometimes being around people who just don’t “get” it. I try not to be judgmental, at least of people (being judgmental about choices is fair game, imho). Still, sometimes I want to look people in the eye and go, “Do you just not care that you actions hurt others?” Of course, I know that I’m FAAAAR from perfect, even though I try a lot. But I at least know that I do try and am getting better about a lot of things. I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but talking with some… Read more »