This phenomenon seems to be widespread. Many non-vegetarians
have formed their own opinions about what is "not meat," usually assuming chicken
are somehow suitable for vegetarians. However, I found myself in a related but altogether stranger situation at one point.
My friend Scott knew that I had had a bad day; I had slept through a test that morning and then somehow lost a contact lens, so he made it his mission to cheer me up. "Pizza, Kool-Aid, and movies," he declared, and I made my way to his little apartment.
I was surprised, then, to hear him on the phone ordering only a pizza with pepperoni. After he asked for pepperoni, he hesitated and then asked the order-taker to hold for a moment.
"Do you like pepperoni?" he asked, not seeing anything wrong with this.
I gave him a look and said, "I'm a vegetarian, you ASSHOLE," and he replied "Oh, right" and went back to the phone.
"I'm sorry," he told the order-taker. "Could I change the pepperoni to sausage instead? Thanks." I listened, thinking maybe he would order a separate pizza for me but just too disbelieving to inform him that sausage was also inappropriate. He did not order anything else, just thanked the order-taker and hung up.
When he got off the phone, I gave him the strangest look I've probably ever attained in my life, and said, "Um, did you hear what I said?"
"What you said when?"
"Just now, while you were on the phone, regarding the pepperoni."
"YES, you said 'I'm a vegetarian, you asshole,' so that's why I had them take OFF the pepperoni and put SAUSAGE instead!"
(Exasperated) "Sausage is MEAT!"
(Oh-my-god-you're-stupid look) "No it ISN'T."
At this point it was impossible not to break out into hysterical laughter. He continued.
"Sausage is a plant, it's a vegetable! I've seen it in those tube things, those are definitely vegetables."
"NO, Scott, those are pig guts. That's even the same animal pepperoni comes from."
After contradicting me a few times, he realized I was actually SERIOUS about sausage being meat, and began apologizing profusely. I pretty much just drank Kool-Aid that night, but I think my night was brightened up better than if pizza had actually been acquired.
In other news, I told many of his friends about this incident and he still has not managed to live it down.