Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Lenten Spring Training

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Lent, here is the definition from Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary:

Lent, n. 1. The period of forty weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter, observed in Christian churches by fasting and penitence to commemorate Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness. This is followed, on Easter Sunday, by the joyous eating of ham and the gifting of humongous amounts of chocolate to children, provided they are willing to affirm their belief in an anthropomorphic egg-hiding rodent of the hare family.

Yeah, I made up the second part. Well, I didn’t really make it up; it’s true. But Webster didn’t say it. I did.

Anyway, in the Catholic tradition, a person gives up something for Lent. Many kids give up candy and sweets, thus the traditional rewarding of a basket full of chocolate and such on Easter. Where the bunny came from, I have no idea. However, there is only a one letter difference between rabbit and rabbi. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

What does all of the above have to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing. Can you think of anything that has something to do with the price of tea in China? I mean, besides the backbreaking work of the peasants in the tea fields and the cost of transporting the tea to the tea bag factory, where thousands of little old Chinese women work night and day stuffing those tiny little bags full of Orange Pekoe and then stapling a little string to the bag, and if it’s Salada tea, you get a funny saying on every tea bag, similar to a fortune cookie, which bring us back to something, but not what I was getting at, so never mind.

For Lent this year, I gave up flour and dairy products. That may well be the first entirely truthful sentence in this mélange, thus far, except for the fact that it isn’t. I gave up most flour products and a bunch of dairy products. OK, I’ll be honest. I gave up bran flakes and Roquefort cheese.

I’ve completely lost control of this entry. I meant to tell you all about how I use Lent as a sort of spring training for softball season, but now you’re probably off Googling “tea, china, price, something to do with”, and I’m just writing for my mother and Magazine Man. Hey, did I tell you that he hooked me up with a link from his site? Bet he’s sorry now!

After every softball season ends, I tell myself that this is the winter I’ll stay in shape. I’ll keep exercising and I’ll watch what I eat and I won’t have to lose 15 pounds or so at the beginning of the next softball season. What happens instead is that I eat like a ravening warthog and the most exercise I get is from loading the dishwasher with the many plates I’ve dirtied. I feel tremendously guilty when I do this, so I have a half-dozen jelly donuts and then I feel better.

Usually, Lent begins in March and ends in April. Softball begins the first week in May. The timing is just right for my purposes. I figure if I’m going to give up something for Lent anyway, why let just God get all the good out of it? If I work it right, not only will I save my soul, but I’ll look better, too!

This year I really did give up flour products and dairy products. The only exceptions are the half-and-half I put in my coffee and an occasional bowl of macaroni with plain tomatoes, which I also put in my coffee.

I’ve done this before. Giving up flour and dairy for Lent, I mean; not the jokes. Well, sure, the jokes, too, but since I’ve only been blogging for a short while, I’ve got a veritable truckload of tired wheezes which I’ve been using on my relatives and friends for forty years and now I get to abuse a whole new audience with them - you. Stick around for about a year and you’ll be sick of me, too.

The last time I gave up bread and milk, I dropped over 10 pounds in the first two weeks.

(There’s a whole slew of women reading this and giving me the stink eye. That’s because guys lose weight much more easily than women. Women do nothing for two weeks but eat celery, drink Diet Pepsi, run five miles a day on a treadmill and then they gain two pounds. Do I care? No. That’s what they get for eating celery and drinking Diet Pepsi. Yuck! Anyway, you women have a life expectancy of four more years than me. That’s because, cumulatively, you spend four years out of your life doing nothing but eating celery, drinking Diet Pepsi, running on treadmills, and otherwise torturing yourself. Wise up, for goodness’ sakes! I’ve spent four years out of my life eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So I won’t get to stick around for those four years at the end of my life where I’d be hooked up to a catheter in some nursing home, watching Simpsons reruns and trying to remember which one is Itchy and which one is Scratchy. What a shame.)

When Lent started, I weighed 195. I weighed 191 this morning. I expect to be at 185 or lower by the time it’s all over, and we’re just talking my systolic blood pressure! There’s no telling where my IQ might end up. Did you know that you can tell a man’s IQ by a simple formula? Have him multiply his shoe size by the length of his pecker, to the nearest half-inch. It’s true! If he does the math, you’ll know he’s an imbecile.

(74 and 3/4, OK?)

(Oh, alright. 68 and 1/4.)

Anyway, I hope by the time softball season rolls around, I won’t anymore. I figure for every pound I drop, I can play like a man that many years younger than my actual age. I estimate that if I want to play like a 20-year-old again, I’ll have to chop off an arm. After reading this drivel, you were probably hoping it would be my head.

By the way, which one is Scratchy?


Stu said...

"which I also put in my coffee"... HAHAHAH!!! Funny stuff, man. I'm glad to read your craft, it is much of good. I like me the suldoggery.

Also, the mouse is Itchy and the cat is Scratchy. Itchy is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and Scratchy is voiced by Harry Shearer.

Suldog said...

Thanks, Stu! I always read your commentary over at MM's page. Glad you made it over here. Welcome!

Carolina said...

Oh gosh, these were your early blogging years. I'm the third commenter and one of the other two is your good self. Great!
Thanks for clearing this up. I honestly did not know what Lent was. I believe it is called 'Vasten' here, but I'm not really familiar with church-associated things. Although the 'holy diet' really appeals to me.
Every year someone has to explain to me when and why it's chocolateholiday (Easter) and what the .... makes a certain Friday Good. I keep forgetting. I know. It's stupid! So I asked a girl who lives next door and who visits church every sunday. Wenn I asked her she was about 8 years old. She patiently explained to me every holy holiday, then sighed and concluded with the historic words: "But what I don't understand is - first Jesus is crucufied and reborn (and whatever else the poor guy had to go through), but he is only born at Christmas, and that is at the end of the year."

(I'm exaggerating my stupidity a bit. Or am I?)