Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lent

You gotta be careful when you joke about some topics.

For instance, if I make fun of Lent I run two risks...
1. offending the millions of Catholic readers that flock to this site for spiritual guidance
2. being struck down by lightning while I'm in the shower in what would surely be reported in the newspaper as "a bizarre and unique accident."

However... even though this should be considered reverent subject matter, I believe I have earned the right to make fun of it because:
- I was born and raised Catholic and am a card-carrying member today
- I attended a Catholic grade school where we went to church EVERY day, and then because there was the chance that we still hadn't suffered enough - again on Sunday.
- In the last 25 years I have given generously to the Catholic church, thus earning me enough Cath-o-credits to at least get away with this one silly jab.

So on to my point... What is Lent?

Lent: Remembering the ultimate sacrifice one extraordinary man made for all of humanity.
Lent: Honoring this incredible gesture through our own personal acts of sacrifice.
Lent: Filling our faces with grilled salmon at Outback, stuffing ourselves
like the lobster tails and crab cakes we order at Red Lobster, and inhaling our favorite family-sized cheese and veggie pizza at Pizza Hut!

Oh, the big guy must be sooo impressed. I can hear him talking to St. Peter right now. "Hey Pete, check out this guy. He just had his 4th order of Fish Nibblers(TM) and never once touched a Slyder to his lips. What a martyr, what a saint!"

Ahh, but it doesn't stop there. Incredibly, we continue to stretch our sacrificial limits even further. All around me are signs of respect for this most sacred time: People giving up drinking, smoking and fine imported chocolates. People vowing to subdue their road rage and not flip off old ladies who drive too slowly. People tossing the homeless a quarter instead of pretending they don't exist.*

Lent. A serious time. A time for guilt, quiet reflecting and... and... and... "All You Can Eat Friday Fish Fries!"

Now excuse me while I go beg for forgiveness. I may be a smartass, but I'm NOT stupid!

*acts of martyrdom expire after 40 days



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(originally published March, 2006)

34 comments:

Mrs. R said...

Loved this post. So sad, but true. Sometimes I think the Vatican missed the boat in some areas...

And I'm located in the Twin Cities metro region. I know that's still really vague, but that's as specific as I get online.

Kathy said...

Hilarious, Jeff. Cath-o-credits!! You gotta patent that! We don't have any White Castles where I live, but somehow I have to get my hands on those Fish Nibblers of which you speak. Sounds Lenty!

Ed (zoesdad) said...

My kids gave up sweets. Every time I pull out a cookie or piece of candy and start to eat they try to remind me about lent and what "we" gave up. I remind them, "You gave up sweets, not me. I'm not Catholic."

VE said...

Once again I'm making the ultimate sacrifice and abstaining from eating pop tarts (just the frosted blueberry though) after lunchtime when I am at home (on the go pop tarts are still ok). I know, its a tough sacrifice each year...

I liked the Cath-o-credits, do they hand those out in the shape of the body-of-Christ wafers?

Jeff said...

mrs. r - The Twin Cities eh? Hey wait, I know you!

kathy - Are you saying you've never had a Slyder either? Those are truly an either love em or hate em type of thing.

ed - Heh. Yeah, what's this "we" crap!

ve - Cath-o-credits are very hard to obtain and require years of hardship and suffering. And after all that, you can't even use them in the casinos.

Mom Thumb said...

I don't make New Year's resolutions and I don't give up stuff for Lent. But you have inspired me. So ... I have decided this year I'm going to give up staying at home and go on a cruise. Works for me.

April said...

Wow - there's really nothing I can say on the subject that won't be offensive. So I guess in some ways, I'm participating by not saying them, right?

Bill said...

No matter what one believes, I think the formula for a perfect world is, "Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself". Think about the results.

Heather said...

I don't give up anything for Lent.

Although I could just say I gave up alcohol, since you know, I'm pregnant and not drinking alcohol anyway. That counts doesn't it?

Hilly said...

Wait, so my place in heaven is not secure if I don't eat a fish feast? Well if GOD says so...

The Holmes said...

Cath-o-credits - that is awesome. Do they have the pope's face on them?

Groovy Mom said...

VERY true!

I have a feeling you're okay with the big guy. He has a sense of humor. He invented it after all. He probably inspired this post! ;-)

Jeff said...

mom thumb - I'll submit your name for sainthood ;-)

bill - Hmmm, love thy neighbor as thyself? What if she's not as kinky as I am? (oh, I'm going straight down for that one)

heather - I think being preggos is a big enough sacrifice. You're off the hook Heather.

hilly - Something like that. "...so long, and thanks for all the fish"

the holmes - You bet. I've got some of the older JPII collector ones!

groovy mom - Hey, how can you argue with that logic.

Marie said...

I tried giving up sex for Lent, but my husband had to point out that we aren't Catholic. Yeah, and????

Forest Parks said...

Ha ha, hardly offensive now.... totally true.

I recently wrote a post about the Capybura, the worlds biggest rodent. Apparently as it spends most of it's life in water, European explorers asked the Catholic church if they would classify it a fish, and they did. People still eat it today during Lent!

Julia said...

Phew! I'm glad I'm not Catholic. There's no way I can keep from flipping off old ladies who drive too slowly. That said, I do love a good Filet-o-Fish, so maybe I'll convert some day.

JD at I Do Things

yellojkt said...

I honored Lent entirely by accident last week. I had some dental work done and couldn't chew anything harder than cheesesticks. I hope that cancels out some impure thoughts I have been having lately.

BrentD said...

Are Cath-o-credits transferable? With such a surplus you can surely afford to liquidate some?

I'm sure there's some slum lord or dictator somewhere that would be interested in purchasing some second hand goodness.

Drowsey Monkey said...

LOL ... that clears up a lot for me. As a non-catholic I always envied the "I can do what ever I want all week & confess on Sunday" attitude. ;)

Jeff said...

marie - Really, you have that much that you have to give some up?

forest parks - I'm going to have to hunt down that post of yours. I've never heard of a Capybura. Sounds intriguing!

julia - Everyone's welcome. Just make sure to drop your spare change in the basket when it comes around.

yellojkt - Actually I would consider cheese sticks a treat so that wouldn't be a valid trade for me.

brentd - No way dude... I'm going greedy and keeping all I can get. Wait a minute...

drowsey - That's right. It's Sunday clean-up every week!

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I would be totally offended and write you a hate letter but I gave up having a stick up my ass for lent.

xDashofPanachex said...

yeah, for a while there, I gave up porn for Lent. Which is really awkward when everyone explains that they gave up chocolate and smoking and stuff. And then you mix in the fact that I'm not even catholic...

Anonymous said...

Honey, just wanted to let you know I am doinggreat but I only have seconds on the computer and my cell is almost dead love you

Julie Pippert said...

All I can say is it might end up being very lucky that our Catholic associationship ends in May, whereupon we will go join the other unsaved at the Episcopalian church.

I gave up Nothing for Lent.

Isn't that really metaphysical? Or existential? or wait, no it would have to be nonexistential.

I am not having a nonexistential crisis.

Do those two negatives mean I am having one?

Tracy said...

If you've ever watched Seinfeld, you'd know that it's ok to make Catholic jokes as long as your Catholic. Just like the dentist who converted to the Jewish Religion so he could make Jewish jokes.
It's all ok.

Jeff said...

jenny - I would think you'll be a bit more comfortable anyway. Unless of course you enjoy it that way in the first place.

dashofpanache - I noticed the key phrase was "for a while there." I guess you're only human.

honey - I'm glad you're having a good time in NY, despite all that pesky terrorism and such. Love you too.

julie - It sounds like you're having a metaphoric crisis. And God save the Episcopalians!

tracy - Thanks. I believe I've earned this badge. ;-)

Bee said...

I gave up messing with people's heads for lent.

While sleeping.

So far so good.

Theresa said...

That's hilarious. Cath-o-credits, lol. I'm not Catholic, but I live in the midst of one of the largest Catholic communities in the world, and I don't see too many people giving up stuff around here. Maybe they've given up Lent for Lent. ;)

Ironic Catholic said...

Yep...it's true. Uniting the sacrifice of our Lord to a weekly Red Lobster outing doesn't quite cut it. I mention this in my theology classes (I teach this stuff!) and get some shocked stares. Ah youth.

rick said...

In first grade I gave up watching Batman for lent. I remember sitting on our naugahide couch and pretending to read while I listened to all the "BAM"'s and "POW"'s. I was sure I was going to burn in hell for eternity for my cheating ways. I decided it must just be a "venial sin", so I was only going to burn in Purgatory, which seemed like an acceptable punishment. Ah, first grade...good times, good times.

Jeff said...

bee - The ultimate sacrifice. Try to hang in there.

theresa - Maybe they're giving up invisible things.

ironic catholic - Thanks. It's an honor to have been validated by a teacher. Most people think I just make this stuff up.

rick - I don't know why but I find that completely hysterical. And sad. But mostly hysterical.

Mitch McDad said...

As a fellow catholic grade schooler -- and altar boy -- I feel like I too have accumulated more than enough Cath-o-credits, which is why I've simply given up giving things up for lent.

Lisa said...

OK, so I might link to this post, except that then I'd give away my irreverent sense of humor and alienate many of my fellow Catholic friends who don't have the same irreverent sense of humor... (Love Catho-credits... Gotta use that with my kids!)

wayabetty said...

Well how about a Buddhist not knowing anything about Catholicism in HS when I saw this guy with something on his forehead (that's ash). I told him he has some dirt on his forehead. So, I guess there's no room in heaven for this Buddhist. But then again, we don't believe in heaven but reincarnation. I might come back as a rock or something. ;-)