Well I did it! Today is the beginning of Lent – Ash Wednesday – and even though I don’t follow any particular religion or philosophy (I’m not clever enough to understand most of that stuff), I grew up in England and still like to mark the passing of the seasons with quirky rituals like Lent. Fasting is good for you anyway, it purges the system and also allows you to take a good look at your personal indulgences. It also stiffens up that flabby muscle in all of us known as will power. Well, as I said, I did it! Yesterday I decided to give up cream in my coffee and, look, here’s my cup of black coffee Well done to me.
I’m not being entirely honest of course because cream is lovely in coffee, no question, but I don’t usually have it in mine except on special occasions or, OK, just when I fancy it. So it’s no big deal taking my coffee black – I like it that way. phew, Lent is easier than you’d think.
I may not go back to it of course, cream, I may just break the habit by not having any for forty days and forty nights. No harm done either way, I suspect, except it shows us that you can break bad habits if you really want to.
I’ve done my bit (ssh) so what about the others? If I can give up cream then please North Korea, give up those nuclear tests. I know you want to defend yourself against the super powers who all keep nuclear missiles stuffed into their jeans but, honestly, you just can’t afford them when your people are starving. OK, the rest of the nuclear powers (including Iran), why don’t you all give them up?
Please Roman Catholic church, you talk about Lent quite a lot, why not show us a good example and give up some of your silliest ideas? You know what I’m talking about. When you’re choosing your new Pope look for someone who might take a more human view about women, sexual orientation, celibacy, condoms and marriage. Go on, you know you want to but you still can’t quite find the words.
There are so many people who should be giving up things. Now I’ve started I don’t know where to stop but, a few more:
Please USA give up Guantanamo Bay, you did rather promise you were going to and now look what you’ve done.
Please President Assad of Syria, stop killing your people. Who knows, you might even be able to stop your country disappearing into terminal chaos.
Please all the countries in the European Union (including the UK), stop bickering and, like any other dysfunctional family, realize that you’ve more in common with each other than you like to admit.
Please, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, just give up, put up and shut up. You’re a tiny minority with a big mouth and some really stupid ideas. Just go away and don’t come back.
Please, President Robert Magabe of Zimbabwe, give up your job and give your people a break. No body likes you, OK. Just go.
Give these things up now and, who knows, they might not come back with the Easter eggs and then Lent would have been truly worthwhile.
There’s a little bit of cream left in my ‘fridge – would anyone notice if I finished it off?