Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

     I didn't give up swearing or cursing for Lent, so let me begin by saying "Holy fucking shit, I am almost at my 1000th post!"  I just happened to notice as I was clicking on the "New Post" button to start this post and I saw it said 991 posts.  That is a lot.  But we will address that later.  In like eight days or so.
     What I want to get into today is what I did give up for the Lenten holiday.  First of all, I don't like to get into religion as a general rule, and I am not going attempt to convert anyone or be converted, but I will tell you that I am Catholic - and not a particularly good one - and I observe Lent.  That is the Catholic holiday that consumes roughly the 40 days before Easter.  It begins on Ash Wednesday, which is today, and it is best known for Catholics giving something up and not being able to eat meat (sort of) on Fridays.
     Before we get into the meat (pun definitely intended) of the subject let me just say that I went to Mass this morning to get blessed and get the cross of ashes on my forehead, even though it always ends up looking more like a dirty smudge and mine always disappears as soon as I put my hat on.  I am not in it for the public display anyway so it is okay, and I am not telling you this so that I might receive comment or a pat on the back.  I am telling you this because every year when I go to Ash Wednesday Mass I learn a little something new about Lent.  This year I learned the the whole "you get Sundays off from whatever you gave up" thing is true, and I learned that Lent is actually more than 40 days long and actually ends on the Thursday before Easter, not on Easter itself.  Fascinating.
     But on to the juicy details.  Last year, I decided that instead of giving something up I was going to do something good for myself and those around me.  That did not work out so hot.  So this year I am back to giving things up, and I have chosen two traditional things: coffee and soda.
     Yep, coffee and soda, my two main forms of caffeine ingestion.  Now, this isn't as severe as one might thing.  In the morning I always have a cup or two of coffee, more to warm my bones and give me something to do while I sift through the papers, but I still sort of feel out of joint if I don't have it.  And I don't drink a whole lot of soda either, maybe a can or two a day if that.  So then why is it that I was a little cranky all day long and sort of feel like yelling at everyone that I see and making snide comments to every comment I see on the Internet?
      I don't think that I am going through caffeine withdrawl (I've done it before and it sucks) at all.  I don't think that I am extra tired and grumpy because I didn't have my coffee this morning or a soda with my PB&J at lunchtime.  I think that I am grumpy because I am just a little tired.  But I also think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am having to give something up.  There is something just souring about knowing that you have to willfully abstain from something that really isn't hurting you a whole lot just because you are supposed to.  It is a little ludicrous.  And so it makes me a little irritable.
      But I am going to do it anyway, because I feel compelled to, and because I have this habit of using Lent each year as a way to try and launch myself into being a better me.  Not sucking down coffee and soda is something that I like, that I don't really need, and that I can certainly live without.  And I always figure that if I can make the 40-plus days of what I consider Lent without them I will be able to just continue beyond Easter and delete those things from my life.  It always works well in theory but never that well in practice.  But at least I try, right?
     So we will see how tomorrow goes, when I walk into the office with my coffee mug that says "Hug Me I'm Irish" even thought I am not Irish, and I walk right past the coffee pot all gurgly and warm and right to the cold, harsh fridge to get a glass of OJ.  Not Simpson.  Orange Juice.  I think that it will be okay but you never know.  I have had lots and lots and lots and lots of week moments in the past, and I will have an equal amount in the future I am sure.  Wish me luck. And Happy Ash Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

Because the Sundays are "free days," are you going to drink coffee and/or soda on those days or try for the whole shabang and go until Easter? (or, the Thursday before Easter?)

Big Dave said...

I go for the whole shabang until Easter Sunday morning. I find that if I use my free days, it's just counterproductive because I essentially have to quit whatever it is again on Monday, and why punish yourself over and over again within the scheme of the larger "punishment?"