Glory be, February is over half over. We’re almost within shouting distance of March and, I trust, the first signs of Spring here in our corner of New Mexico. It’s been another crazy year so far, but now that we’re past a chocolate-laden Valentine’s Day and diet-busting Fat Tuesday, and entering the Lenten season I’m fussing over what I should be giving up for the next forty days.
If I may, I’m giving up snow and ice and eight-degree overnight temperatures. How I’m going to accomplish that will probably depend on my as-yet-to-acquire magical powers, but here’s hoping.
Secondly, I’m giving up the spectator sport of politics. All the head-spinning malarky and finger-poking and hearsay is something social media and the internet, in general, is really good at but it hasn’t done my blood pressure any favors. As a matter of fact, I may just give up the internet as well. Or not.
I know, I know, there are much bigger matters to fret about – coronavirus, I’m looking at you – but I try my darndest to keep things in perspective, and let the politicians clean up their own messes. And therein lies the rub.
ln the writings of the Roman poet and satirist Juvenal, he said, ”Yesterday they were ruffians, today they control our lives…tomorrow they will wind up as keepers of the public lavatories.” I guess you could say Juvenal was the Will Rogers of the 1st century AD. I’m quite fond of that quote, so feel free to apply it to the politician of your choice, and while you’re at it create a meme for Facebook.
Speaking of Facebook, with Lent upon us, I was thinking of giving it up for a few weeks. Again. Try as I might, though, every time turn around, it’s in my face. Pardon the pun.
Giving up something for Lent is kind of like making a New Year’s resolution, except that after the compulsory 40 days you can forget it. So, on April 4 you can proceed to dig into your stash of chocolate Easter bunnies with nary a guilty conscience.
I’ve heard that giving up chocolate is one of the most common Lenten penances (see below), but there are others that are possibly a little more of a challenge. Those are the toughies. Things like what our Catholic-raised father used to moralize about to us when we were little; the dreaded Seven Capital Sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
At my youngish age, I pretty much understood the first five and figured wrath might have something to do with losing my temper. Sloth, now, was something I wasn’t sure about but did know it had nothing to do with the slow-moving, branch-hugging, three-toed mammal. Rather, it had something to do with “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”
On the other hand, right along with the seven deadly sins, you’ve got the Seven Heavenly Virtues; chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. I’ve honestly tried to adhere to most of the latter seven, but must admit to having trouble with a couple of them – especially my years as a young man in the Air Force – but I suppose it’s never too late to revisit my weaknesses.
If nothing else, Lent is a good interlude for self-improvement, whether it’s spiritual, mental or physical, because when you sacrifice one thing, you gain something else, in a way.
I was reading an article last week listing what people tweeted that they will be foregoing for Lent. According to the “Twitter Lent Tracker,” number one on the list was social networking, followed by alcohol, Twitter, chocolate, Lent, meat, swearing, coffee, soda, and sex.
Other top things in previous years include fast food, chips, school, Instagram, and marijuana.
Note to self: There is nothing about chile on that list.
But I digress.
My February almanac says it was 91 years ago today that Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto as the ninth planet. But in 2006 some big shot astronomers said no, it should be called a dwarf planet. But, lo and behold, two years ago some other big shot astronomers declared it to be a planet again. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow is Fish Fry Friday, celebrated on the first Friday after Ash Wednesday. Then, Saturday is the anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Post Office Department, thanks to President Washington in 1792. Did you know if you rearrange all the letters in Post Office … they get really annoyed. Is that a Dad joke?
And to top it all off, Saturday is also something called Hoodie-Hoo Day. The day, it is said, that people are supposed to go outside at 12 noon, wave their hands over their heads, and chant “Hoo-dee-hoo!”
If done in Magdalena, just wait for all the dogs in town to join in.