Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doin' It- Banter Style

One could say that I was not brought up in a religious household. My dad was baptized Catholic and his baptism was the last confirmed time he was spotted in a church, except for the occasional wedding or funeral. Oh, there was that one time the church held a garage sale but I don't think that counts. My mom was something called a Congregationalist, or Congressionalist, or Congresswoman. I'm still uncertain as to what this means. I think its Christian. It might be a Lutheran sect. It's possible they vote on stuff. We stopped going when I was about 7 because we moved and now church was about 45 miles from the house. Way too far for salvation. That may be the reason I am lazy. I inherited it.

Despite my lack of childhood brainwashing exposure to religion, I am absolutely fascinated by it and have taking it upon myself to learn as much as possible. Despite my best efforts, there are so many practices and procedures that are confusing. Lent is not one of them. Having had no formal training in the concept, I'm pretty sure I've got it figured out. My best guess is that there are those who are still vexed by Lent. I shall now share with you the results of what I have learned about Lent, based solely on loose observations over several years.

The Facts of Lent
Lent lasts for a little more than a month, about 10% of the calendar year. Exactly when it starts is a complete mystery, it changes every year. To the best of my knowledge, there is an anomaly in the atmosphere that kicks off the season, of which I haven't felt. I view this as akin to how birds know when it's time to fly south for the winter. They just know. Same with the Lenters. They just know. And, for some reason, Lent seems to start on a Tuesday evening or Wednesday early morning. This has made no sense to me in the past and makes no sense to me now. Why not start on a Monday? Or Saturday? Why Tuesday? No one knows. If the Lenters get it, they ain't sharing.

On that Tuesday, especially in places like New Orleans, some Lenters will party like its 1999 (including when it was 1999). Magically, the party ends and definitely by Wednesday's breakfast, Lent is in full swing. In several interviews with Lenters, I have posed a simple question, "What are you doing for Lent?" (This was an interactive investigation.) I like open-ended questions as they give an opportunity for the subject to express him/herself. The responses vary but can be lumped into one of 2 categories. The first, widely more popular category, is the "I'm giving up _______" category. The second, smaller category is the "I've started _______" category.

Here's where I like Lent. It doesn't matter which category the subject had chosen. At the end of the story, they were a better person. I'm giving up smoking, alcohol, reading bad online blogs, etc. I've started working out, spending time with the children, reading bad online blogs, etc. I've also learned that, whatever they've decided, they must to do it, or not do it, DAILY. Not once in a while. Not weekly. Daily. Further, they must continue to do it until someone says stop. I don't know who. Maybe they all are on a secret email list. Remind me to check my spam filter later this week. If there is no form letter, again, the Lenters just know.

I've always liked the concept of Lent. This seems like a worth while venture. I want in. I may have to pledge. Regardless, I'm gonna do it.

40 Days of Gettin' It On Working Out
Unsure if I have to pay a charter fee, I have decided to drop myself into the latter Lenten category. I will become a Lenter and train for the entire Lenten season.  To be clear to myself, here's the rules I have drafted:
  1. I must swim, bike, and/ or run daily. Other forms of exercise do not count.
  2. For it to count, the total duration must be more than 30 minutes.
  3. Intensity is not important.
  4. I may not work out extra in one day to make up for another day.
  5. I may excuse myself from exercise if there is a legitimate risk to my health, including injury.
  6. I may excuse myself from exercise if there is a legitimate obligation to the Wife.
In years past, I have experienced a lull in my training in early April. It's raining. It's windy. It's cold. I'm a pansy. I'm busy working. I'm coaching. My teeth hurt. Now that I'm a Lenter, I will work through the April doldrums. Let the Lenting begin.

P.S. If you are a Lenter and on the inside, I'd appreciate a note letting me know when I can stop.


  1. First I think that you should know that technically Sundays are NOT part of Lent. It's hidden a bit in the back of the lenten rule book, but you are one of those guys that likes to know this sort of thing. Second 4/23 is the last day of Lent. Lent is 40 days, sans Sundays, from Easter.

    Easter as I'm sure you are aware is the first Sunday after the full moon which happens on or after the vernal equinox. (March 21st)

    I am a confirmed Lenter.

  2. Wow. So much to process. 1. According to the official rule book, I can take Sunday's off. 2. I can stop on 4/23. 3. It's not an atmospheric anomaly, but a lunar anomaly (not sure if I can see the moon before May here).

    Happy Lenting, brother.