Monday, March 14, 2011

The Lenten Season

Originally published by HeavyGlow in 2006.

Jimmy said he was going to give up searching for aliens for Lent. It was either that or give up his peeping, but, with it getting warmer, and considering what Jimmy calls our “hot new neighbor,” that was not a valid possibility. Everyone in the family had to give up something. I was giving up candy; Mom suspended her embargo on “that disgusting sexual act” with Dad; and Dad, as always, gave up cigars. That he never once smoked a cigar in his life was not The Lord’s business, he always said.

Lent was never a good time of the year. Worse than giving up something, was not eating meat on Friday. Mom was a strict enforcer of this rule. Every Friday at school was pizza day. My brother and I were the only ones who answered “Plain” when asked if we wanted plain or pepperoni. Our mother would call the school and ask to speak to one of the lunch ladies to make sure we didn’t eat a single piece of pepperoni. It may not have been so bad if they had other toppings. We’d beg the lunch lady for some mushrooms, black olives, even anchovies.

Then there was having to go the church on Ash Wednesday and get those ashes rubbed on our foreheads. Our parents always wanted us to keep clean, but always wanted those ashes on our heads and wouldn’t let us wash them off. The ash thing always confused me because that one time we got a hold of the gold container on the mantelpiece and there were ashes in it and we dumped them out and stomped on them and threw them at each other, our parents grounded us for two weeks.

Last year our parents told us there wasn’t an Easter Bunny. I asked them what the purpose of Lent was if there’s no Easter Bunny, and why had they been lying to us. Dad said something about Christ dying and being resurrected, which, after hearing about the Easter Bunny, sounded just as fishy to me. After dinner I asked my grandmother what the Easter Bunny had to do with Jesus dying on the cross. She said Pontius Pilate was actually a 6-foot white rabbit and he killed Jesus. Then, and I remember her words exactly, she yelled, “You won’t see it in Mel Gibson’s snuff film, but it happened.”

I was very distraught over this, so Mom had my Uncle Dennis take me to the mall to see the Easter Bunny. Uncle Dennis liked malls and he had just gotten his license back after, like, his fourth DWI. I was excited when I saw the phony rabbit, but Dennis ruined it by yelling at all the kids to get away from his hallucination. So, this year, I hope Easter is more about Jesus and baskets of candy and less about family members punching guys in bunny suits and getting tazered by mall security.

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