Way back in 1980 I was living in New York
And I had a friend come stay with me and visit for a week
He'd spent the year in India and many things had changed for him
Among them, how he dressed and how he'd speak

He talked of meditation and of inner peace and joy
And of a new and healthy vegetarian diet
He was looking good and sounding clear and wasn't eating meat
So for the week that he was here I thought I'd try it

That was 13 autumns gone and that's how long it's been since
I've partaken of the pleasures of the masticated moo
And then about a month ago I found myself in one of those
Indelicate positions where I knew not what to do

Some brand new friends invited me to dinner at their house
And they'd also asked some 20 more to come for cake and hear me strum
I tuned up and came to the table, all the food was served and ladled
Every dish had three neat piles, I felt my knees go numb

One pile was potatoes, and another was asparagus
And a third pile had a neon sign proclaiming "Hah, I've got you now"
For there upon my very plate, the stuff that I'd so long not ate
A tender slice of meatloaf from a dear departed cow

What do I do, what do I do, I panicked, I'll admit to you
For this was one time in a hundred that I'd not forewarned my hosts
That eating meat was something I no longer had a fancy for
Once haunted by bad dreams of bovine ghosts

Should I step up on my soapbox and recite my all-too well-worn speech
How it takes some 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of rump
Not to mention 2500 gallons of government-subsidized water
And of grazing land transformed to fallow dump

How all those cows are treated, what with cattle prods and crowded cages
Pumped out full of hormones, fattened up and trapped like rats
Not to mention how the human heart is stressed out by consumption
Of their difficult-to-break-down cells and saturated fats

On the other hand I hearkened back to nineteen hundred seventy nine
My buddy Jim and I, backpacking through the South Pacific
We landed in Samoa on the island of Savaii
And the local people thought we were terrific

So they convened a regal feast, no effort spared, no praise withheld
I'll ne'er forget the feeling I got in my diaphragm
As we entered in the sacred hut, where all the food was served and cut
And there upon each taro leaf, a supple slice of Spam

To them this was an honor, gourmet food from foreign country
While to us it was disgusting - have you ever read the can?
It's like all the stuff they sweep up off the floor in hot dog factories
Hog pate´and swiney piglet marzipan

But we ate that slice of Spam and we survived
We accepted what they gave us and revived
We didn't have the heart to say that Spam was gross and déclassé
I ate a slice of Spam and I survived

So here I am in Mystic with these natives of Connecticut
I'm seeing them in long grass skirts and fanning me with leaves
I pinch myself to try and waken from this flashback island dream
Where meatloaf is the Spam that's up their sleeves

Everything is in slow motion, down we sit and Grace is spoken
Thank you for the bounteous gifts, and all that is forgived
What happened next is something that I won't repeat and won't forget
I ate a piece of meatloaf and I lived

I ate a piece of meatloaf and I lived
I jumped across the fence for one brief moment, sensitive
To all the do's and don'ts and rights and wrongs and
Potent narratives and then

I ate a piece of meatloaf and I lived

So now I know to call ahead when someone wants to break some bread
And if by chance they're having meat I'll take my chance and spout
Of numerous and many options, dietary re-adoptions
All you gotta do is check 'em out

But if someone offers you a gift, just weigh the factors, catch the drift
And do what your heart dictates at the moment, in the Tao
And if it's not what you prefer you have the privilege to defer
I learned my lesson then and now, I did
When I ate a piece of meatloaf

(He ate a piece of meatloaf)

I ate a piece of meatloaf and I lived

Lyrics submitted by bananahero

Meatloaf song meanings
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