Lent started yesterday, so for the next 46 days, I'll be doing the Lord's work by saying "No thanks" to chips and salsa and driving right on past the Popeye's Chicken on Campbell (and the one on 22nd, too, if I happen to find myself in that part of town). Yep, eating baked chicken and snacking on microwave popcorn that tastes like sawdust can put one in a serious State of Grace.
As I've mentioned in the past, I've tried all kinds of different Lenten things over the decades. When I was a kid, I gave up the usual sugary stuff—candy, cookies, donuts—which was easy for me because I don't have much of a sweet tooth. As I got older, I challenged myself. One time, I said that I was going to go to Mass every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I did it every day and got all the way to the end, only to find that my church didn't do anything at all between the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and sunrise services on Easter morning. That meant that I couldn't go to Mass on Holy Saturday, so I failed in my quest.
I call that Lent Kneelin' for Nothin'.
A couple weeks ago, a friend suggested that I be a Republican for Lent. I briefly considered it, but it was too confusing. Should I be a real Republican, one that has ideals and core values? No, because I'd end up being angrier at Donald Trump than most Democrats are. Trump has no ideals or core values and he damn sure isn't a real Republican. And anger is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
I could be one of those flapping-in-the-breeze Republicans who are just happy to finally be rid of that Obama guy and really don't care what kind of monstrosity has taken his place. They don't study issues; they memorize slogans. That would be exhausting and simply too dishonest. Plus, on Easter, I would have to re-teach myself real science.
Or I could be a Radio Talk-Show Host Guy Republican. Most of these guys actually do their homework, study the issues, and gain an understanding of what's going on. But then, to keep their audience numbers up and the ad revenue flowing, they have to pander to their core audience and they end up saying stupid stuff like, "Hey, there was a snow storm in Maine in February. What happened to global warming?"
That tiptoes up to prostitution, which I'm almost certain is a sin.
So I guess I'll just give up the aforementioned food items and try to be a better person. One friend suggested that I go all of Lent without saying (or writing) anything about Donald Trump. (I'm considering it.) Since I'm writing this before Ash Wednesday, I thought I would get some things out of the way so I won't be tempted to detour into negativity during the Holy Season.
First, I want to complain about MSNBC. They've done a couple stupid things recently and I want them to stop. I turned it on the other day and they were discussing whether Mike Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment and have Donald Trump declared mentally unfit to be president. Stop it. That's a ridiculous over-reach. I sincerely don't think he's mentally unfit. I think he's dumb, but that doesn't make him unfit.
One of the stupidest things I've ever heard my entire life came the other day when a guy on the radio said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Donald Trump can't be dumb. He's rich."
Then there was a thing online that claimed that Melania Trump's body language suggests that Donald Trump is an abuser. Stop it. He's a confessed sex offender, but that doesn't specifically mean he's a spousal abuser. The only thing we actually saw was him grabbing his wife by her arm.
Next is the guy who carjacked Mayor Rothchild had better hope he doesn't get caught. I've seen enough prison movies to know that there is a hierarchy and pecking order among inmates. Things will not go well for somebody who gets incarcerated for stealing a Prius.
Last week, someone who goes by "tctw" responded to my column by implying that I make up certain conversations that I have. People who know me will attest to the fact that, with very few exceptions, I will say anything to anybody at any time. I lack that filter. (I don't pick on the handicapped, I won't talk in church or the movie theater and I won't bother somebody when they're eating in public.)
I understand tctw's skepticism, but I really do talk to just about everybody. Lots of times I get flipped off. Once or twice I have conversations that turn out to be pleasant. Other times, it's somewhere in between. One time, a guy showed me a handgun. That wasn't one of the pleasant ones.
I think I'll try that Donald Trump thing, so I'll leave you with one of his quotes from the now-infamous shoot-from-the-hip press conference. The President of the United Sates said this: "You know what uranium is, right? It's this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things."
Let us pray.