Hell, I am barely a follower... might make it into mass two, maybe three times a year...
But for some reason, despite my abilities to conform to any of the other silly "magic" rituals conscribed by Rome to its devotees, I always seem to keep my Lent.
For you Protestants (and Jews, Muslims, and atheist for that matter) out there, keeping your Lent means that you give something up for Lent, the 40 day period before Easter, as a sacrifice to God. The something you give up can't be something frivolous; it has to be a real sacrifice.
And I have always done it... ever since I was a boy.
And I make my kids do it.
And when I got married, my wife- eager to buy into the wy things rolled in the Kingdom of Acee- fell into line.
Usually, I don't fuck around with my Lenten sacrifices... I really make them something that is a sacrifice to me.
Last year, for example I gave up cigars (a huge thing for me as I was using them as a crutch to get off the cigs). The year before, I gave up swearing.
This year, really feeling cocky about my strength of character, I put some thought into my Lenten sacrifice. And I came up with what I thought was a real good Lent.
I was going to give up smoking.
See, the sort of is that I was only going to give up smoking during my day to day, sparing the evening smoke with my wife.
My reason for sparing that smoke was that I felt it to be a true bonding moment between her and I; the time when we would talk about the day, talk about one another, and share.
It is an intimate time between her and I, a nightly ritual so engrained that we actually missed it during the time when she was knocked up and couldn't partake.
But that would be it.
One nightly smoke.
No more "Taking a shit Tubers", running to the garage one hitters, or long drives to get the paper...
Even random smokes offered by strangers (known by any smoker to be among the best smokes).
Just those smokes with the broad.
So this evening (Fat Tuesday), as I sit in my bathroom with my wife, bunkered down like two paranoid high school kids (complete with the rolled up towel by the bottom of my door to keep the stink from the rest of the house), we talk about what each of us were sacrificing for Lent.
My wife revealed her sacrifice (she asked me not to reveal it publicly). I was impressed. It was going to be a tough one for her.
But I knew mine was going to be the better.
I explained to her my grand vision; how my day is centered on our evening smoke and how I placed the importance of the rituals in our relationship higher than perhaps offending the Almighty.
She didn’t see it the same way.
Annie: “So you’re not giving up anything?”
Me: “No… I am giving up all smokes sans our sole evening smoke.”
A: “… Because you feel it makes our marriage stronger…”
M: “… Because it makes our marriage stronger, precisely…”
A: “Well, it counts… it’s a bit of a loophole you have found for yourself pothead, but I’ll count it.”
M: “What do you mean loophole? I am making a real sacrifice…”
A: “Yes, I agree… You smoke A LOT. And cutting back on those wake n’ bakes, and many trips to the bathroom and garage you keep having to make will totally be a sacrifice. I’m just saying that you might be a little full of shit hiding a pre-bed time smoke out in the “Good of the Marriage” clause. It’s sweet and I love it. But you are totally cheating on Lent and Jesus is ashamed of you.”
M: “But I am within the spirit of the Season…”
A: “Yea, I guess… You are giving something up.”
She seemed annoyed.
But she said it counted.
And that’s all that matters.
(Needless to say, this only matters because it there is gambling involved. Hundred bucks to the last man standing.)