February 24, 2009

Hellbent on Lent

With the final day of drunken stumbling through New Orleans, Rio and other Mardi Gras celebrations now upon us, I've got my Fat Tuesday beer cracked as I try to figure out just what I'm going to sacrifice on the alter of personal growth this year for Lent. I know what you're thinking -- I didn't know you are Catholic, Shonda. Well, you would be thinking correctly, I am not Catholic. You see, not long after high school, I periodically helped out at a small, local cafe. While the owner was the only member of Catholicism working there, the other ladies joined in on the tradition. And since I am so clearly someone abundant in self control, I figured I would be a total natural for this Lent shit.
Yeah, I turned out to be wrong about that. I don't really recall what I swore off for those 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but I do remember it being the Titanic of sacrifice. Sure, it started out with good intentions, but in the end, there was only blood curdling screams and a bunch of hysteria.

In spite of my first Lent being a holy fucking disaster, I've tried it each year since then. In 2002, that super fly Josh Hartnett stared in 40 Days and 40 Nights, a comedy about a young single man giving up the impossible for God -- sex. The first year I was with Rowdy I suggested that I might make this same pledge and he nearly peed his pants from the all consuming laughter. He apparently thinks he's such a Man God or that I'm such a lustful harlot that I couldn't withstand the lure of his loving, even if it were for the Almighty. I thought about attempting it just to prove Rowdy wrong, but then I realized if I were to fail at this, Rowdy would really strut around here like rooster in a hen house. Yeah, that's definitely why I didn't give up the nookie. It's definitely not because I didn't think I couldn't do it. Definitely.
Then one tragic year I gave up cussing. Now, if you've been following this blog any time at all or, if by chance, you've happened to meet me in the real world, you have probably figured out that I have had a long and passionate love affair with all words foul. In fact, I will go far enough to say that I believe that Jesus gave us cuss words in order that we don't freak out and start beating people at random. He told us to turn the other cheek, but he didn't say anything about flipping the bird while you are doing so. Not only that, if I took the cursing out of my vocabulary, it would literally be cut in half. But, I've always loved an under dog, so I tried it anyways. I spent the following 40 days walking around like a mumbling fool, no doubt convincing frightened strangers that I had Turrette's Syndrome or was in the middle of some acid trip gone awry. First, I would accidentally cuss and then I would start scolding myself under my breath. By the end of the day, I would just be walking in circles.
Last year I gave up Wal-Mart, which I know might seem rather silly to you, but hear me out. Since I'm kind of, well, a cheap skate, I hate spending more money than I have to on anything. I knew each time I had to pay an extra $5 for a box of diapers I would be tempted to scurry back out to the super store. But, after a week or so, it became incredibly easy. I felt pretty good about spending my money at locally owned shops and the local stores don't send me into the full blown panic attacks that Wal-Mart seems to.
So now, here we are on Fat Tuesday, the eve of Ash Wednesday, and I still have no freakin' idea what I am going to give up this year. I've kicked around giving up beer. But, as my friend Lyndi who also gives up something explains, you want to pick something that would be a challenge, not a miracle. I think we should leave beer off the list until my darling children have left for college.
I've also thought about giving up coupons. Yes, I'm really that geeky. I'm sure a few of you are giggling or smirking at the thought of that. But, let me tell you, I get as high as a Keith Richards on a three day heroin binder when those snotty teenage clerks tell me that I've saved 80% on my grocery bill. It will be a challenge to squeeze that full price out of my tight ass, but it wouldn't be like the whole Moses parting the Red Sea like forgoing the Bud Lights would be.
I still have a few more hours before I make the final decision. Since I think my blog readers could perhaps be a collection of the most brilliant people on the globe, I want to encourage suggestions from you guys. My clever husband has proposed that I give up bitching at him, you know, for the sake of Jesus. I tried to explain to him that the thing with Lent is suppose to be something you enjoy. He then chuckled and said, "You can't be that good at something you don't enjoy, love."
So, get after it, friends. While you guys are doing that, I'm going to watch our new president address our nation. I think I will take a big swig of beer every time he says the economy. After all, it is Fat Tuesday.


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23 comments:

Laura said...

When I was young and a full-blown Catholic, I used to think it was SOOOO funny to reply "Lent" to any one who asked me what I was giving up for lent. Now that I'm a spiritual atheist, I don't have to do anything to put myself in a better light, so to speak. But here are my suggestions for you. You could give up any of these things and score BIG POINTS with your chosen deity:
1. DO NOT watch the new version of 90210 for 40 days. Yeah, like it's going to last 90 days.
2. Give up chewing ice.
3. Don't go to Starbucks. No, I didn't say don't drink coffee. Just but it somewhere that costs less than a friggin' ribeye steak. I suggest 7-11.
4. Don't yell at the TV for 40 days whenever a Republican gets on and says "We have to reign in the spending" AS IF THEY THINK WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT IT WAS THEM WHO RAN UP THE DEFICIT FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS.
5. Come to think of it, maybe giving up lent for lent isn't such a bad idea after all.

Shonda Little said...

@ Laura,
Damn you for writing a comment that is better than my entire post. All good suggestions, especially 4.

Mark said...

I am from a Catholic family not that I am practicing lol Sex, sin and sodomy and all the rest *giggles* ;-)But I do tend to try and give up something for lent every year. Last year it was chocolate, hence to say it killed me as chocolate makes the world go round for me but this year we have decided to try and burn off the calories and we purchased a new tread mill. Although with my spine I will be walking slowly while admiring my own wall paper :-)

Michele said...

I'm not catholic either but my best friend is so in the spirit of bon ami I would give up something every damn year. Then she stopped but didn't bother to tell me (remind me why she is still my friend?) So I've stopped cuz damn I'M NOT CATHOLIC! Laura's number 4 so works for me. I could never get my Irish Catholic husband to go for it though but then he doesn't give up anything for Lent.

BTW, "He told us to turn the other cheek, but he didn't say anything about flipping the bird while you are doing so" best fucking line EVER!!!

for a different kind of girl said...

Damn, I'm glad you're back out there!

I am not of the Catholic persuasion, but I kind of got this wild hair that I'd give up ice cream starting today. Worried that I'd forget what that sweet, sweet goodness was like, I may have gorged on a bowl around 11:30 p.m., yesterday. And then I may have forgotten today is Wednesday and I had a few spoonfuls for breakfast. It's dairy. It counts.

I'm screwed. Except I'm not Catholic, so I maybe not. I don't know. Religion confuses me. Pass me that chocolate syrup while you're up, would you?

for a different kind of girl said...

P.S. Laura's is a great comment, but the new 90210 doesn't come back on the air until, like, March 30th, so that might not work if the temptation (sadly, something that sucks can be a temptation)(just ask my husband)(hell yeah, baby!) isn't in front of you in the first place.

Shonda Little said...

FADKOG,
LOL @ the things that suck. We all know the Tool Man is lucky.

Amber said...

Instead of giving something up for Lent, you're also allowed to take something new on. You know, like using cloth grocery bags or volunteering or something like that. I might personally find that sort of thing easier, because with two small children I need my coping mechanisms, dammit! I'm not giving any of them up for the sake of spiritual enlightenment.

HeatherPride said...

Am I too late to make suggestions since I didn't get this until Ash Wednesday? I hope you blog about what your final decision was. I hope it wasn't wearing shoes. Or a bra.

Kailyn said...

You are a better person than I. During Lent, I like to order carne asada burritos on Fridays and wave them under the noses of my Catholic friends -- kind of like that old Eddie Murphy thing about having an ice cream cone when no one else does.

Oh, and don't take these long breaks. Missed reading your stuff.

Casey said...

Oh my, you tried to give up cussing? That's the most hysterical thing I've ever heard. Seriously.

Laura said...

Au contraire mon ami, FADKOG, check your local listings. I walked into my daughter's room a couple of days ago and there was THAT GUY from the old 90210, all 40ish and dad-like, along with the JESSE'S GIRLFRIEND FROM FULL HOUSE, all 40ish and mom-like. It was definitely ON. Why? I can only guess.
Maybe they think we all forgot what it was like the first time.
And I meant to say "like it's going to last 40 days." Damn moving keys.

TexasRed said...

Here's my post about giving up the Spiral of Doom about my job for Lent. It'll definitely cut down on my stomach acid and swearing as a good side-effect if I can swing it :)

http://texasredbooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/paved-with-good-intentions.html

Suzanne said...

I can't fucking believe you fucking tried to give up swearing! Damn, that's some bullshit.

Shonda Little said...

I fucking love you, Suzanne. You know the damn heart of this fucking cusser. It was some hard bullshit.

apathy lounge said...

I forgot to give up anything for Lent. Is it okay to do something retroactively? Like whining about my low comment volume? Hmmm. Nah...I like whining about that too much.

Michelle said...

Hello Shonda, I am way to late to give you any suggestions so i ask what is it that you decided to give up for 40 days??? Do tell!!!

TV? SEX? FOOD? SLEEP? SHOWERS? WHAT???

Damn it i need to know!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you should've gone with #4 on Laura's comment bc watching you yell at the Republicans may very well be as funny as watching you without sex or cuss words!!!
Melissa K ;)

BTW, don't tell me you have writers block, everytime I talk to you there is some crazy, funny shit goin' on at your house!!!

Trixie said...

I thought of giving up my rabbit...but thinking about it..I'd prefer to give up men...the rabbit gives better pleasure!

Dianna said...

I freaking flove this post my dear*!*

I am Catholic, and like Amber, I choose to try and do something a little extra for Lent. This Lent, I'm trying not to yell so d*mn much at my lovely kiddos.......
I'll give everyone a moment to laugh........

What I find harder to do is remember NOT to eat meat on Fridays. It usually occurs to me half-way through my delicious jr bacon cheeseburger.

apathy lounge said...

I was going to give up complaining, but then I needed to be able to complain about how I wasn't able to do it until Lent was over...so I quit. Am probably headed for Hell.

JBA said...

If you gave up swearing, I think the earth would crack in two.

How loaded were you after the speech!?!?!

Chef E said...

I love your blog, I am also a 'cowgirl' misplaced in the NE through marriage a few years ago...

Oh lent...I gave up eating period, lol

Finish This Page, but click on the older posts, too.

The knee-slappin,' cursin,' GOOD TIMES don't start or end on the front page, so read the older posts! Maybe you missed something. Maybe you forgot. I try to post daily, so read the older posts!
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