(From Late February, 2018)
It’s Lent. The time when Christians commemorate the approach of Good Friday (maybe THAT’s the day that should be called Black Friday) and Easter.
In some churches people are encouraged to give things up during the 40 days of Lent. I believe it has to do with showing solidarity with Christ through some minor personal sacrifice.
I didn’t grow up with that tradition and, frankly, don’t like giving things up. My New Year’s resolutions usually contain qualifiers like “less,” “try to” and “if convenient.” I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. I can try to change and do it less, if it’s convenient.
I know that the power of religious belief can help people do remarkable things. My father-in-law quit smoking, cold-turkey, during Lent one year. Others start the process of “getting off of sugar.” I don’t smoke. And as far as sugar goes, the Movie “Michael” is instructive. Played by John Travolta, the Arch Angel Michael heaps sugar onto his cereal. When asked why, he says there isn’t any sugar in Heaven. He then says, “No matter what they say, you can’t get enough sugar.”
Medical science, of course, disagrees with that, but hey; he was an angel!
A week into Lent, I’ve decided that there is something I need to give up. Comedy. Not making it, but listening to it.
I like listening to people talk when I drive, and talk radio is painful to hear. But, with Sirius/XM in our car, we have five or six channels of stand-up comedy. When I’m at home I can listen to comedians on Pandora or IHeart Radio apps on my phone.
It’s gotten to the point where I fall asleep each night to comedy on my pillow speaker.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with comedy per se. Some is not tasteful and can be downright offensive, partly because that’s what comedians are supposed to do, I guess. I avoid those.
The problem is, I think, that comedy has become my brain sugar. As it is, I can quote a comedian’s take on almost any topic that comes up. So far my family and friends have been tolerant of my references, but even I’m finding them (my references) to be tiresome.
So, I think it’s time for me to listen to more music, or maybe some un-funny audio books or something. Not forever, but for what remains of the 40 days.
If you see me in tears at some point, you’ll know that I’ve kept my pledge.