Wednesday, February 6th, 2008, 9:42 am
I’ve had a pound of bacon in my freezer all winter and when I woke up this morning I licked my chops and said, "Today’s the day". Made some coffee, defrosted that sliced-up piggy, preheated the hot box. I can hear it sizzling as we speak.
While it was cooking I checked my email and the headlines, and saw the horrible news.
Today is Ash Wednesday. First day of Lent.
Now, I’m not the best Catholic in the world. Not the worst, mind you, but what with being a divorced non-church-goer who has done his fair share of coveting and blaspheming over the years I’m not an A-lister. And I don’t need any more black marks next to my name, the kind of mark you get for knowingly eating meat on Ash Wednesday.
Here’s the thing–you’re not supposed to eat meat on Ash Wednesday and on Friday’s during Lent. But if you FORGET, if the date honestly slips your mind and you gobble down a steak, you’re in the clear. It’s what’s in your mind, and in your heart, not what’s in your stomach. For example, while attending Penn State back in 1991 I negotiated the purchase of a turkey sub from McClanahan’s. Those of you who lived in Happy Valley at that time know that a turkey sub from McClanahan’s was something very, very special. The red pepper relish, that’s what lifted it into the sublime. I went home, got out the good china, lit a few candles, and sat down to lunch.
Just as I took my first bite my roommate Mark came home. He saw me chewing, saw what I was chewing, and he said, "You know today’s Friday, right?"
No, I hadn’t. It totally slipped my mind. And had Mark kept his goddam mouth shut for another 10 minutes I could’ve enjoyed that turkey sub to the fullest. You only get so many turkey subs from McClanahan’s in one’s life, and Mark ruined that one for me. What to do? FInish it, and risk my immortal soul? It was a close-run thing, but I reluctantly wrapped it back up in the butcher paper and stowed it in the fridge. Of course it wasn’t as good on Saturday. Of course I still hold a grudge against Mark.
But who do I blame for THIS fiasco? There’s only myself. My mom pointed out to me on Sunday that Ash Wednesday was just a few days away. The news surprised me, because it’s really early this year. But I’d been advised, I can’t deny that. Here’s the thing–it isn’t that I forgot that Ash Wednesday was THIS Wednesday. I honestly thought that today was Tuesday. Not sure why, as it isn’t like I spent yesterday in an alcoholic stupor (that was Saturday). Yesterday I was busy. Too busy to what day of the week it was? Nah.
My apartment smells SO good. I’m hungry–Pavlov’s dog got nothin’ on me. And I can’t have any. "Eat the bacon," many of you are doubtless saying. Screaming, even–"EAT THE GODDAM BACON!!!!". I can’t. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Bacon should be savored, with eyes closed. Every bite is a celebration. And there’s no way I’d be in the proper frame of mind to fully enjoy that pig if I don’t have a clear conscience.
I was going to take a picture of the bacon, to show you exactly what I’m giving up. But just as gluttony is a sin, so is pride. Plus it hurts me to look at that pile of fat cracklin’ goodness. The only good thing is that it’s going to be very warm today and I can air out my apartment. While I eat tuna fish without tasting it.
UPDATE: 12:01AM. Can’t talk. Eatin’ bacon.
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