I met today’s interviewee in high school in good ole’ southern Illinois. To answer your first question, yes, we did drink alcohol while parked on dirt roads named after our friends’ great grandparents. To answer your second question, yes, we did use the restroom in fields surrounded by corn crops. And to answer your question, mom, yes, I am quite proud of myself.
Anyway, Eric is known for his unique and intimidating sense of humor and his complete inability to say “no” to dares. But he should also be known for being incredibly smart, kind, helpful and open. If you can see past sarcasm, those traits should be clear to you.
Also, Eric sometimes goes by Chris now, but I chose to ignore that. You’ll learn more in the interview, so read it now!
Meet Eric Pueblo.
Why have you decided not to be vegan? Describe your journey to veganism and where you got stalled.
I can’t stand hypocrites. I’d put them on the Despicability Ladder between psychics and Humanities majors. That’s pretty low company, hombre. I find it hard to be a vegan without being a hypocrite. Like, you wanna do no harm to no animals? Well humans are animals, and you can’t buy a product in the world that wasn’t built on exploited human labor. That’s pretty hypocritical! Seriously, if you can’t live your life perfectly, and I mean PERFECTLY, in-line with your ethics, you’re a hypocrite and are forever barred from ever having anything you say or do taken seriously. Also, your world view and opinions on issues are never, EVER allowed to change with time. You’re supposed to have your morals and ethics figured out by the time you hit baptism age. That’s like 7 years old, compadre. After that, no changing, or you’re a hypocrite. So if you ever even ONCE exploited an animal or ate any of its appendages and you suddenly change your mind on the appropriateness of the situation: HYPOCRITE! Like a politician, once you’ve taken a side on an issue, even if it’s been like two decades since you took that side, and you decide you wanna do switchies; hey, too bad buck-o, you stuck.
All this to say; if I decided to go vegan, I’d be a hypocrite. Can’t have that on my resume, amigo.
If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?
I’d stop eating pork. It’s tasty, but it gives me really awful gas (although I also get really gassy when I eat gluten, so I probably have a gluten allergy as well). It’s a smell I don’t think my dog can even stand, and he eats cat turds and wallers in dead fish. And it’s constant for hours and hours. It hurts, but I hold it in when I’m out, so the only person who ever has to smell it is my wife. I must be the luckiest guy in the world though, because she puts up with it. Seriously, if I could give medals to people who put up with the worst smells, it’s:
- Gold: crime-scene-cleaners
- Silver: impacted-bowel-movers
- Bronze: morticians
- Honorable Mention: Hanna
Which fad diet or meat-eating celebrity made you want to eat animals?
Definitely Paleo. If I know anything, it’s that our ancestors had everything all figured out. People back in the day were so much greater and more intelligent than us; obviously we should be doing exactly what they did. They lived forever, got along pretty well with everyone, had plenty to eat, no sickness or disease, weren’t ever at the mercy of natural disasters, childbirth was the safest thing in the world, and they could travel anywhere they wanted at any time. I mean seriously, with all that knowledge, you think they didn’t have the *perfect* diet all mapped out?! That’s why I do Paleo. I also try to inscribe stories on the walls at my job, although some jerks object to it. I’m trying to bring back ancestor worship. I don’t understand how it ever fell out of favor. We have some good, recent ancestors that I think everyone could get behind worshiping, like Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand. I mean, when I hear people talk about those two (and also those mystical “Founding Fathers”), it’s almost like they were gods sent to earth to show us what’s up. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to just embronzen their likeness and sacrifice some hippies to them every year.
Where do you get your fiber?
Where every other non-vegan does: paper. I used to eat a lot more of it when I was a kid. Probably explains why I was so regular back then. My notebooks almost never had the EZ-tear pages so whenever I’d have to turn in an assignment, it’d have all these stupid (tasty) little paper morsels hanging off the left side. Usually, I’d just tear them off and shove em in my mouth. Where else was I gonna put them, the trash? What a waste! Anyway, fast forward to today, and I probably still eat paper every so often. I don’t actually recall recently eating any, but I’m still moving my bowels so I guess I have to be. Maybe its an automatic, unthinking act like biting my nails or groaning when replaying a particularly awkward conversation in my mind.
What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
Kale? I’ve never had the stuff. I’m curious about it, but I’m afraid of where it might take me. I hear it’s a gateway food. I wouldn’t even know how to eat it. Cooked? Raw? With a spoon, or with my hands? If I like it, does that mean I’m a vegan? What if my family comes to visit and finds it in the crisper? Can you imagine the awkward conversations?! I obviously couldn’t hide it from my wife very long, how would she take it? Would she be supportive, or go find herself a manly steak man? It’s just too risky going down that road.
Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
Yes, but I’d like to be more “humane” about it. So maybe switch to eating invasive-species-only fish. Like Asian Carp. That’s racist though! Also, if I decided to try and expand my invasive-species-only approach to land plants/animals, I think I’d only be allowed to eat winter creeper, poison ivy, killer bees, and white people. So maybe I didn’t think out the response to this question well enough.
Are there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
I have a tank of fish, two cats (Olive and Bob), and Butters the Dog. I’d put myself in unreasonably large amounts of danger to keep them safe. Well, maybe not the fish. One time, puppy-Butters peed on Lisa’s carpet and heckled Lisa’s dog Dakota with his puppy antics. He also likes to sniff crotches. Hanna found Bob as a stray kitten after he was run over by a riding lawnmower; she took him to the vet and they amputated his tail (so he has a Bob-tail. Get it?! Get it?!), and then they became best buddies. Olive is the boss; the other two know it, and she quickly lets any new animals who enter the house know it as well. One time, she kamikaze-attacked Butters by launching into his chest while they were both on the couch. As she was biting and twisting his neck fat (obviously not hurting him either), he tried to back up and ended up falling off the couch and took her with him. She just got up, shook it off, and walked away. Butters was pretty confused.
What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
Board games, video games, and Reddit have really been my outlets lately. I still do a fair bit of reading (in the middle of the Wind Up Bird Chronicle right now). Every so often, we get a group together and do table-top RPGs. Oh! We also have a Sunday morning hiking club. And softball! Drinking! I make wine!!!
Clearly you don’t care about animal welfare, the environment, workers’ rights or your health. Is there anything you do care about?
I do volunteer work at the Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club. I like getting kids excited about learning, and making them curious about the world they live in. And let’s face it, St. Louis as a community has f***king FAILED at giving a lot of their children a fair shot at good education and safe development. We like to point fingers, but we should put on our big kid pants and actually band together and stop f***king FAILING OUR CHILDREN. It’s going to take the whole community to do it, and thankfully Mathews-Dickey has given me the opportunity to help.
Last year, I was in charge of the Computer Literacy Instruction Program (CLIP) and the Saturday Morning Tutoring, and we turned in a pretty successful campaign. This year, I don’t have as much time to donate, so I’m just running the Saturday Morning Tutoring. We could really, really, REALLY use a few more volunteer tutors. The kids are K-8 (usually, sometimes we have high schoolers), and I have a blast helping them with their studies. If this sounds like something any of you would like to do, I’d encourage you to either contact me or visit mathews-dickey.com to directly contact the Club.
Also, I’m part of the Mission Continues St. Louis 1st Service Platoon. It’s basically a bunch of motivated veterans who want to get out and help improve our community. We’re still growing the ranks, but we’ve been involved in a few service projects and are always looking for new opportunities to serve the community. If you’d like more information on how to get involved, or have a possible outreach event with which you would like us to help, you can contact Marcella Povis to get the ball rolling.
Make up a question of your own and answer it.
Eric: Hey, Eric, why did you start going by the name “Chris” when you joined the Marines?
Chris: Well, Chris, that’s a pretty good question. I’m sure my family and high-school friends are very confused by my new friends calling me “Chris”, and my new friends have absolutely no idea who my old friends are talking about when they say “Eric”. I’ve been pretty hush-hush about my reasons for the sudden name-change. It was always pretty personal and I didn’t think it was much of anyone’s business, but I’m in a good place in my life now and don’t really have any issues with people knowing. You see, I changed my name from “Eric” to “Chris” because ████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████.
Now that I’ve written it down, it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal. Whew! Glad to have that one off my chest.