Fat Tuesday. Cool name for a feast day.
Tuesday is such a boring day, so it’s only right it should get one of the great feast days of the year. A time for carnival in Rio, or masquerade in Venice. A time for feasting, debauchery and gluttony, counterpointed by the sackcloth and ashes penitence of Ash Wednesday.
You have to admit, the church gets these events right. Be impressed by the foresight of our forefathers in allowing the proletariat their evening of gluttony and feasting, exacerbating the guilt of the flock and consequent penance in the harsh light of Ash Wednesday. In payment for the monumental hangover, the faithful pledge penance, poverty and piousness – for 40 days (actually, not to be pedantic, but the period of Lent is 44 days – so we’ll chalk that down to inflation over the ages).
The church has this feast and famine act down pat. Take Hallowe’en, the night of ghosties and ghoulies, and candy crunching chaos, smashed into submission by the holiness of All Saints Day mere hours later. But Fat Tuesday, then 6 weeks of fasting, polished off with the Feast of the Chocolate Bunny? Well that’s just event planning brilliance.
So, never one to shoot for half measures, I’m in for the feast, so I’m in for the famine. At least, the token famine. You don’t expect me to go all out for the whole desert solitude in this day and age? lthough – looking out the window at the negative 16 Celsius snowstorm this morning, 40 days in the desert would be a welcome diversion right now.
So, without fear or trepidation I decided to plunge myself into the whole Lent thingy. Only one problem – what can I can live without for 40 days?
So, what are my choices? It seems there are a few rules, so be sure to choose the right Creed. Choose wisely! If not you might find your choice made for you. Your creed of choice may require abstinence from food that gives pleasure (personally, I’ve never been pleasured by food. I may have pleasured with food, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other blog). Also, we should be grateful not to be living in the Middle Ages. Then meat, eggs and dairy products would be forbidden. Apparently, these foods provided greater nourishment, which leads to a ‘greater surplus available for seminal matter, which when abundant becomes a great incentive for lust’ Ah, that’s what causes it. I never realised it was the T-bone that gave rise to my bone – explains a lot! So maybe I have been pleasured by food?
But for most of us, we are free to give up whatever vice we may choose, be it edible or otherwise. However a little pre-planning here would have been useful. I find myself woefully vice free. Prescience would have seen me take up any number of vices to be then discarded with the ease of a tart losing her knickers. However, without such foresight I’m faced with having to suspend participation in something I actually enjoy.
One option would be to forego physical pleasure. If I use the Clinton interpretation I could possibly achieve this. I find myself in that particular desert an occasion, AKA ‘The Doghouse’ (as distinct from the Cathouse, which would inevitably give rise to an extended and possibly permanent period of abstinence from ANY form of physical pleasure, once Dearly Beloved became aware). Although, this level of sacrifice in penance for a pancake does seem somewhat extreme. Had I spent Mardi Gras in Rio, 6 weeks of abstinence might be warranted, but a month and a half frolic free for a flipped, fried feast of beaten eggs, flour and milk? A little extreme.
So where does that leave me? If I’m giving something up, surely I should benefit too? With the Summer Season fast approaching (I wish) there’s need to give up 10lbs of lard I’ve been storing as a safeguard against the frigidness. Time to cast that off and reveal my honed and toned physique. So, my choice is to combine diet and fast, sweet and savoury, sugar and spice, and everything nice. Oh no, maybe I’ve bitten off too much? And now there’s none at all.