In America, it is customary, even for the non-religious, to celebrate the Lenten season by depriving ourselves of pleasure, temporarily of course. After all, we are Americans. These 40 days of sacrifice barely put a dent in the damage done the other 325 days that we spend indulging our every whim without remorse, but it’s the thought that counts. At least for 40 days, we are reminded that there is life without Facebook, life without chocolate, and life despite the futility of grueling P90X session. We know there’s life after P90X because the pain is something that only the living could experience.
Food is usually the first thing on the annual I Give Up list. Catholics commemorate the season by skipping meat in meals on Fridays. I wonder if Catholic vegetarians skip vegetables on Fridays and force themselves to have hamburgers exclusively for the day. That’s the kind of sacrifice that defines the spirit of Lent to me.
As expected, the famous enjoy publicly promoting their specific Lenten sacrifices to the rest of us. The goal of these pronouncements is two-fold: first, a goal publicly declared becomes more likely to be achieved, and second, it makes the rest of us feel badly about ourselves.
I reached out from my desktop and electronically asked hundreds of individuals and organizations (per the Supreme Court, aren’t organizations people?) to tell me what they plan to sacrifice for the next 6 weeks. Here is a list of the Lenten sacrifices of the rich, famous, and powerful (otherwise known as “The Respondents”) in our modern world. Maybe we can learn through their examples:
What Will I Give Up for Lent?
· Pope Benedict XVI – Alarm clocks
· Barack Obama – Pretending to like John Boehner
· Rep. John Boehner – Pretending not to hate Barack Obama
· Steve Martin – Sleeping in
· International Olympic Committee – Wrestling
· Sen. John McCain – Reason and accountability
· North Korea – Irrelevance
· Sarah Palin - Relevance
· Fox News – Sarah Palin
· Princess Kate Middleton – Wearing heels
· Washington Nationals – Innings limits
· Taylor Swift – My boyfriend (whoever it happens to be at time of publication)
· Redskins QB Robert Griffin III - Mobility
· The New Orleans Superdome – the position of Director of Electrical Affairs
· The NHL Owners – Locking out the players
· The NHL Players – 7% of our money
· NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre – Nothing…I will give up nothing
· Ted Nugent – My citizenship
· Sen. Marco Rubio – Thirst
· General David Petraeus – G-Mail
· Tom Cruise – Half my money
· Suri Cruise – Yeah, right
· Honey Boo Boo – Taco Bell
· Go Daddy.com – Good taste
· Americans – Carnival Cruises
· The Republican Party – I think we’ve given up enough already
· The Democratic Party – I think we’ve given up enough already
Whatever you give up this year, don’t quit me, baby. That kind of sacrifice won’t make you better as a person.
Good luck, quitters.