Clearly feeling the heat as he approached his looming slaughter at the age of six weeks, a bloated five-week-old teenage turkey desperately attempted to talk up the appeal of "mock meats" like the widely popular soy-based Tofurky.
"Mmmm, Tofurky!" proclaimed the nameless bird, who's spent the last several weeks in less than ideal conditions (namely, crammed into a large shed and wallowing in his own filth).
Hoping that health concerns might also bear some weight with chronically sick Americans, he went on to explain that, contrary to popular wisdom, he's actually not healthy to eat.
"Look, I'm not proud of it," he stated openly, "but I've got about as much cholesterol as red meat. And let's be honest - I'm fat."
From what I could tell, that much was very true; this turkey had such an out-sized breast that he was visibly about to topple over.
But aren't turkey and chicken breast healthy, "lean proteins"?
He sadly shook his head (and his stubby mutilated beak). "Back in the day, we poultry birdswere pretty lean. But these days, the odds are stacked against us. We're genetically selected to gain weight super quickly." He glanced down self-consciously. "That's how I got this crazy ginormous breast - ha, chicken version of man-boobs, I guess."
On this point, however, I had to challenge this sad sack of a bird. "Look, I'm sorry, but you could be as lean as you want to. You're a free-range turkey. You've got all the opportunity in the world to exercise outside, in the sunshine. Heck, wish I had it so good!"
The turkey's eyes lit up for a brief moment. "Oh, that's right! I do remember hearing something about a door over there somewhere." He craned his eyes eagerly. Eventually, however, unable to make out the tiny covered door on the other side of the giant shed teaming with other birds, he gave a resigned sigh. "This place is like Grand Central Station. No way I could make it out, even if I could find that freaking exit."
I attempted to give him a reality check. "A lot of people have crappy jobs, dude. One time I worked construction and they treated us like animals. I told them to take that job and shove it!"
"I know, I know," he acknowledged. "But it would be bad enough dealing with this place if I thought my dead flesh were actually helping millions of upper-middle-class white women lose a few pounds. Instead I'm just putting them at risk of obesity, salmonella, and bacterial superbugs. Oh, and throw me on a grill and I'm certifiably carconogenic!"
"Look on the bright side," I encouraged him. "Thanksgiving's coming up - and you turkeys will be the star of the show!"
He chuckled darkly. "Right, Turkey Funeral Day. Yeah, can't wait." He hesitated a moment and then commented, "Man, I wouldn't say this if I were going to be around much longer, but you humans are wack." He hastily added, "No offense."
Even so, I considered this an extremely unfair remark. In college, I ate a lot of pasta, and I could scarcely fend off all the concerned inquiries about where I was going to get my protein. (And come to think of it, I had felt a little weak.)
"Dude," I shot back, "our protein's not going to get itself!" I gave him a good-natured nudge. "Come on, cut me some slack - after all, wasn't I the one to tell you about the free range?"
But this bird had reached his boiling point. "Your range blows!" he exclaimed angrily. "If you humans had any sense, you'd bring home the broccoli, not the dead birds." In what even I had to grant was a touching instance of cross-species empathy, he added a moment later, "Or the bacon, for that matter."