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It turns out you shouldn’t ask your cannibal parents about whether that night’s meal is organic. How poetic that a slip of the tongue is the thing that got me kicked out of family dinner. It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is the knife taken out of your back.

People forget—hell, I forgot—but cannibals get the feels too.

We’re humans just like you. We bleed, we breathe, we emote. When mom and dad prepare a meal, they don’t need someone else asking pesky, ungrateful questions. There aren’t exactly cookbooks and supermarkets that cater to us, so family dinner is always an undertaking.

Plus, thanks to the proliferation of pharmaceutical companies and the Frito-Lay brand, organic human is an increasingly tricky proposition. But they didn’t make a David Chang Netflix series about that.

Generally, humans are more free-range than they’ve ever been.

Trendier open-office plans and standing desks have replaced cubicles. The suburbs are booming, athleisure is spreading like a form fitting pandemic, and recreational running is at an all-time high. But for every 5K forward, we take massive steps backwards, thanks to children on leashes, Netflix, and Axe Body Spray.

And while that doesn’t seem like the crux of all this, maybe it is. You’d have to be a backwards-ass caveman to not see what is happening to our physical world, so pardon me for wanting to do my part and be a little greener. I wasn’t asking my parents to make wholesale changes to our lifestyle. I just wanted them to be a little more conscious of what’s best for the planet and our bodies.

By the way, I know they can’t say it, but I guarantee that Bernie and AOC would support organic cannibalism. Eating meat, but with fewer CO2-emitting cows? While addressing overpopulation? Read between the lines of The Green Deal. It’s practically a footnote!

Meanwhile, my family is treating this like the time cousin Jess came home from college and declared herself a vegetarian! And Jewish! Since I put my foot in my mouth, I’ve been left to fend for my own meals, which, not ironically, have not been feet. Or mouths. Or any human parts in between.

We all know the saying about not wanting to piss off the wrong cannibals.

Ha ha hardy ha. My parents aren’t monsters; they’re parents. Anyone who’s gotten in trouble at home knows exactly how it went: “We aren’t angry, we’re just disappointed.” Is there a mantra about not wanting to disappoint the wrong cannibals?

The worst part is that the meals are still happening! And while I knew I’d miss the home cooking, I find myself especially missing the laughter and glee. Something you might not know about cannibals is that they make jokes too! Sometimes the same ones you even do! My aunt and uncle love to turn the menu into an Abbott and Costello bit. “What’s for dinner?” “Who!” “No, I’m asking you!” It always kills in the room… if you’re lucky enough to be in the room.

Me? I’m upstairs eating fava beans without any kidney or merlot.

And fava beans without kidney? Thanks but no thanks. I would do anything to get back to the dinner table. Gandhi sometimes deprived himself to atone, but other times he fasted to make demands. I’m not sure which is the correct implementation in this case. I’m no Gandhi, I’m not even Cannibal Gandhi.

Maybe I’m supposed to learn something from this experience. Maybe my parents are just waiting, and as soon as I demonstrate growth, I’ll be welcomed back to the dinner table. That’s my hope. Because the only thing better than eating a family, is eating as a family.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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