Wednesday, March 9, 2011


(In lieu of out of context bible verses and long-winded religious rants about how I’m going to Hell and single handedly destroying the moral fabric of America--I ask that you save your hatemail or send them to somebody who actually cares. Yes I have beef with Lent. Yes I know what that implies. Yes I realize that some keepers of the old faith will burst into flames reading this. That’s my job. I care about things like trees. It’s the position of that you save a tree today and instead use the nearest already ignited religious zealot to heat your home TONIGHT.)

The Lenten season is upon us. Isn’t that like how every Sunday service newsletter you ever seen begins this time of year? “The Lenten season is upon us and now it is time to get closer with God.” I digress. Lent officially begins today and it means the same thing it has for me for the last 21 years of my life: Absolutely nothing.

The only time the whole “Give up something for Lent” yearly attention fad had any significance in my life was like once in second grade when we had to keep a journal of our progress as Catholic school students embarking on a 40-day journey into the bowels of intense boredom. Apparently the way that our school had best felt would help us understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for us was to take away the one thing/hobby/food/activity that made us most happy in life. In my case they failed because I was lucky enough to have tolerant parents who raised me to stay true to myself and make decisions based on the “right thing to do” rather than what somebody told me to do. I wrote the journal about how much I missed my between rounds of playing Mario Kart 64 with my Dad. Still to this day I don’t understand how Peach was always so damn fast as a computer but so slow when you were in control…

Two rules of thumb for life my brothers and sisters…

1.) Unless they’re your employer; be very cynical of a person who wants to force you into doing something or conforming to a certain way of life.

2.) Peach is the worst…

I understand the concept of Lent. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about individual choice. If you think that giving up Xbox for 40 days will help you become a better person go ahead and do it. I just have a problem with the whole aggressive tone of the holiday season. To me somebody randomly asking me what I gave up for Lent is like me randomly walking up to a stranger and asking them what they did last night. Unless I’m a prime suspect in some crime and you’re a detective my reply would normally be something along the lines of, “…and you are?” or the classic “none of your darn bee’s wax!” Bee’s wax…such a stupid saying.

Think about the irony though. Jeffery is not religious at all. He smokes too much, he has sex with loose women, and he’s a strict carnivore. Besides setting himself up for a heart attack by 35,Jeff has been raised to give up something every year by his family for Lent. So he decides to give up meat. Jeffery now spends the next 40 days bitching uncontrollably about how much he just would like to have a steak. The steak starts to haunt him in his dreams and by the end of the week he’s either at the Chop House or the Big House because he just started gnawing on his date because she reminded him of a piece of meat.

What have we learned here? First off, Lent has turned Jeff into a cannibal. Second off, that the idea of Lenten sacrifice really is kind of superficial and selfish considering in the eyes of the Church Jeff is somehow a better person than the rest of us because he followed the Lenten dogma (regardless of his pre-Lent actions and his taste for...human)?

So I gave up Xbox for 40 days? Yay I did it.

Who has that helped? Nobody.

What has that helped? It could’ve helped your sex life had you not given up sex for Lent or actually had a sex life to help in the first place.

Who is impressed by the fact that you went 40 days without video games? Maybe you and three other people who share your interests and lack of action.

My point is that maybe people should not look at Lent as this 40 day period of starvation and self-suppression. Maybe instead of giving up we should just focus on giving. Volunteer at a shelter. Take some of that spare toll change around the house and make a donation to a food bank, children’s charity, the USO. You might be surprised how simply making a quiet contribution can have a more positive effect on the world than incessant whining over Facebook that you’ve got blue balls.


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