I guess I’m no different from a lot of people who wake up early in the morning when the house is all quiet and dark and brush up on the news via the internet. I end up losing track of time and I have to rouse myself out of the stupor of staring at that glowing screen. That’s one thing newspapers have over it, it doesn’t glow.

Whether you are reading this on a glowing screen or the proper print version, it’s all good. We’ll be giving February the heave-ho come Tuesday, and that means spring is headed our way, with little signs of greenery like daffodils popping up trying to get a head start on the season.

Besides being the month of Caesar’s Ides, St. Patrick’s Day and spring breaks for all, there’s also something called March Madness, a basketball thing, when even people who don’t follow the sport very closely will try to win money by filling out brackets in an office pool or something. But that’s not for me, no. If I want some free money I just go down to the market and get myself a Roadrunner ticket. Funny thing, though, that vision of a winning big sack of moolah seems to evaporate after matching only one number.

With the Lenten season beginning next Wednesday, I was thinking that’s what I need to give up for a few weeks. Giving up something for Lent is kind of like making a New Year’s resolution, except that after the required 40 days, you can forget it. 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’ve heard that giving up chocolate is one of the most common Lenten penances. If you can hold off until April 14, you can then proceed to dig into your stash of chocolate Easter bunnies with nary a guilty conscience.

Oh, while it’s on my mind, something else about Lent. Or more specifically the day before Lent, and I’m talking about Pancake Tuesday, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday. And other-otherwise known as Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras doesn’t mean much here in New Mexico, but it sure does in New Orleans. Having lived and worked there at one time, I recognize that New Orleans and Socorro have a few things in common. Besides the laid-back attitude both share, there is also a love of local food – jambalaya or green chile stew, for example – and a love of parades. Boy, they sure take their parades seriously in New Orleans, not unlike here.

One more thing. My birthdate happens to be in the month of March, under the astrological sign of Aries. Aries was named after Ares, the Greek god of war and the son of Zeus and Hera. Zeus became the god of all the gods by a random drawing with his brothers – not unlike holding the winning lottery ticket. And Hera was something called the Queen of the Gods on Mt. Olympus and, as fate would have it, she was also the sister of her husband Zeus. Sound familiar?

I’m getting the feeling that all TV soap operas sprang from Greek mythology.

Where was I? Oh yes, when it comes to celebrating birthdays, after age 39 I frankly started losing track of the “how old are you” thing. Age, the way I look at it, is just a social construct, or as Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. So, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

That reminds me of something I saw while on the internet over the weekend about the categories for age groups. According to a Harris Poll conducted last year it depends on your perspective. The study found that while younger millennials consider the median middle age to be between 35 to 50 years old, Generation Xers perceive middle age to be 45 to 55 years old. And baby boomers like to think of middle age as 45 to 60.

But wait, results of a survey of 2,000 Americans in 2020 showed that the age of 57 is commonly thought of as “officially old,” although it must be noted that maturity was not even mentioned in that article. As Mae West says, “You are never too old to become younger.”

When you get down to it, your chronological age is kind of irrelevant depending on your priorities, but I will admit that it’s been many years since I’ve been told to tuck my shirt in, stand up straight, pick up my feet, turn down that record player, or do my homework. Or having to wait until Saturday morning to watch cartoons.

Now I’m all grown up and know stuff.

But honestly, I can’t remember how I reheated coffee before microwaves.