The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller

Con Chapman

Con Chapman
Boston, Massachusetts, US of A
September 28
. . . is the author of over fifty books--some with paper!--available on and elsewhere.


Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 21, 2012 3:07PM

What to Give Up For Lent

Rate: 29 Flag

Lent, the forty-day period before Easter Sunday, begins tomorrow.  Around the world, children in Catholic schools are getting The Talk.

"No, you may not give up homework."

The Talk is usually delivered by a nun, who informs kids that the forty days of Lent are symbolic of the forty days Jesus spent wandering in the desert while the Devil tempted him.  "Because Jesus resisted temptation," the nun says, "you kids ought to be able to give up something--Bobby Hohimer, spit out that gum!--for forty days."

"C'mon--let's go play video games!"

In the desert there is no dessert, however, so most kids come to the conclusion that their suffering is greater than in Biblical times, when the Devil's "temptation" was to challenge Jesus to demonstrate his supernatural powers. 

Latter-Day Superhero.

Big deal.  Call me sacrilegious, but challenging someone to demonstrate his or her supernatural powers is chump change--what you do to kids who wear their superhero costumes around the neighborhood when it isn't Halloween.

Baltimore Catechism, a/k/a "The Rules"

Because the obligation of Lenten abstinence is based on Church dogma, it is only fair that children should be able to use Jesuitical casuistry to avoid it.  The Jesuits are a religious order who have historically allowed their members to avoid religious persecution by giving "Jesuitical" answers to the incriminating question, "Are you a Catholic?"  Jesuits are permitted to deflect this question by a sort of rhetorical ju-jitsu known as "changing the subject."  Answers approved by various Popes over the past 2012 years include the following:

1.  "Am I a Catholic?  You mean right now?"

2.  "You have spinach between your teeth."

3.  "BC won the Beanpot--third year in a row!"

"Go BC!"

No, the kids of America who give things up for Lent are the true saints, not the phony-baloney "martyrs" who were always getting torn apart by lions or impaled with spears.  That isn't a sacrifice, it's just stupid--didn't your mother tell you to be careful?

As someone who won the Catechism statue for three consecutive years in grade school, I offer to the youth of today this selection of things to give up for Lent which, while they may seem sacrifice-y, are actually not that hard to give up:

Lobster bisque

Lobster bisque is something grown-ups enjoy during periods of abstinence, when they're not supposed to eat meat.  Believe me, it's not as good as a hamburger.

Water skiing

Because Lent bridges winter and spring, giving up water skiing isn't that much trouble.  If, like me, you were never able to stay up for more than ten seconds, it's a day at the beach, so to speak.


Asparagus is a vegetable, but you'll never persuade your mother that giving up one of the five basic food groups as a whole is required by a papal encyclical.  Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered, as the farmers say.  Giving up a single stringy vegetable that you have previously masticated into a ball of green fiber, then pretended to choke on, is an achievable objective.


Unless they are castrated, most boys resist choir, choir practice, and wearing those sweet cassocks and surplices that choir boys are required to wear.  God forbid you should ever have to walk out of church wearing that get-up where Tommy Lilja and the other hoodlums are waiting to flick their cigarette butts at you.

"Please--hit me with the stick!  Anything but a noogie!"

As a former Catechism champ, I can assure you that giving things up that you don't really like for Lent is permitted by Catholic theology, and that you will not burn in Purgatory for doing so.

I offer it to you in the name of the Holy Trinity--Mannie, Moe and Jack.

Author tags:

lent, satire, comedy, spoof, humor

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I'm giving up cleaning the toilet, taking out the trash, and dusting. I'm such a martyr.
Accordion. "Lady of Spain" can wait.
When I was 13 or 14 I told my Ma I was giving up the Catholic Church for Lent. Her reaction was Holy fury, delivered by a flailing sterling silver hairbrush. Ah, Ma, I miss ya.
Misdemeanor blasphemy. You shoulda got off with maybe 2 Our Fathers, 3 or 4 Hail Marys, Act of Contrition--tops.
Every year, I give up Lent. Then I have to give up guilt by around April or May.
If they take away my guilt, what's the fun of being a sinner?
Hey, I was raised Episcopalian.
We observe Lent.
If we feel like it.
My understanding of Episcopalian: Just like Catholic without the guilt, mortal sins, or any insistence whatsoever on anything that might bother one.
Okay, so our church was a more liberal Episcopalian than some...
Even our Confirmation classes were ruled by consensus only....we were all 13.
We finally consensed to tour the attic one Sunday...
That was my introduction to adult Christian faith.
It was as if even the priest didn't buy into the dogma...

Oh, Lent.
Giving up something....
.........'s too ha-a-a-a--a-a-rd.
singing Panis Angelicus in the shower
Everybody check their doxology--somebody's got mine.
I will be giving up smoking and soda. If I must give something up, it might as well be good for me as well.
I'll give up putting aspirin in Coca-Cola in the belief that it's DIY Spanish Fly.
i have diligently investigated the gospels we were
provided with, graciously, by damn
idiot closeminded editors,
of the dozens.
i see not a friggin sign of mr. jc giving up anything.
in fact i find him embracing life, bumming across the countyside,
making water wine and fishes multiply, bread too!

what did he ever give up? sex? ok let us say this is true,
though i doubt it..why would these gals chase him
all over creation otherwise//?

ok so he is celibate . but what he gives up,
to me, an unbiased bible reader, is this
foolish notion that man is in chains
to his own flesh.

it got resurrected!


jesus was a senusal man. no doubt he often had to
touch his disciples & groupies..

flesh and spirit are one, yes? is that not the message of this
Oh jeez are you bringing back some memories.
I'm giving up the NFL.
Guilt. I'm giving up guilt.
You need to find a better Seafood Restaurant, because I've never eaten a burger as good as a good bisque...and, I even had a Big Kahuna Burger...that's new Hawaiian burger joint. You heard right, they do make a tasty burger.

I made the ultimate sacrifice. It's been working well for me since I did it way back in 1965, when I learned that there was such a thing as Lent. I wasn't Catholic, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from sacrificing for Lent.

I gave up Lent. I know, genius right? Right? Never looked back. I mean, no self-respecting Catholic nun or priest is going to be able to make the argument that Lent isn't something really tempting and hard to give up. Right? Right?

I was reincarnated as a Jesuit, I think.
Do we still give up stuff for Lent?!
Aren't nuns extinct or something?
Really? Are there still nuns? (saw most of mine leave the Church back in the day).
OMG, I am/ Catholic, I remember the Baltimore Catechism well! Even taught it to 7th and 8th graders...back in the day. I have never seen so many pre-pubesent (sp) bored boys and girls about to receive "Confirmation" than ever before...
But now, remembering Lent all too well and giving up TV, sweets, swearing at my siblings, being respectful to my parents and all the other things given up or sacrificed for 40 days...I miss most of all, Mom's Tuna Casserole with potato chips on top on Friday nights.

Awesome post with a terrific trip down memory lane for me!
I had a Protestant mom who would bend the rules; pancakes and waffles on Friday night, fruit plate. She hated fish.
I always envied the Catholics for their Lent, as well as their fish sticks on Fridays. Methodists seemed kind of boring by comparison.
Chappy, I was scared you gave up humor and I didn't sleep well.

Reading first now.

Please take a month and a half off, pal. Generally improve stuff, okay? Please!
I stop adding to my collection of Lint on Lent. I have a ball of lint as big as the one in Time's Square on New Year's!
I agree with blogger J.P. Hart

He refuses to not stop using:
a wine corkscrew to clean:
commode, belly button,
ears, and heehaw hoe
a garden plat with
mule-arse - but -
Kerry Lauermen
do not give up
stuff during
Lent and
Yom Kippur
and he still
use corkscrew
to clean stinky
toes and snotty
nose . . . ha huh
ay, and heehaw
pre-K editor
trying to knock
on whore's door
a nice doll house
with a corkscrew
huh . . .
I gave up sugar for Lent one year. Increased my time in the grocery store astronomically because almost every processed food contains sugar, and about half way through I spotted a friend drinking a soda pop and my first thought was to stab her and steal it. I didn't. But I did lose 10 pounds.

Sugar withdrawal is brutal.
And avoided incarceration!
Lent was good for learning particularity. Only a dope would give up candy. A smart guy would give up -- by name -- all the second-class candy available to him, i.e., Three Musketeers Bars, Milky Ways (which were castrated Snickers -- no nuts) the unpronouncable Nonpareils, Peppermint Patties, Nik-l-Nips or Black Cows.
You and I must be a Superman-Bizarro doppelganger pair. Those are some of my favorites.
i giving up irony til christ comes back.
this IS all in preparation for his long overdue return, yes//?
PURGAT0RY was rather pleasant, compared
to hell on earth.
indulgences, man!
that might be the key.

i shall never buy any more asparagus, that is for sure!
a big sacrifice, but jehovahDoofus
gotta be appeased........................................
Thank you. My Unitarian upbringing didn't inform me of what Jesus did during the 40 days, and I was trying to explain it to my kids yesterday because I'm planning to do Lent. I assumed the Romans took 40 days between trial and crucifiction.

Maslenitsa (Butter week, Mardi Gras week) ends in Sunday, so Veliky Post (the Great Fast) doesn't start until Monday and I still have lots of blini (Maslenitsa's classic buttery food) to eat.

I am an atheist, but Lent is a good time to diet because all the restaurants here have Lenten menus, allowing you to give up the usual suspects (fat and sugar) and still be able to eat out.

Do you have any good on-line sources for the big event in the church calendar, because here they are often tied up in the agricultural calendar? The peasants didn't have calendars, so they used church events as a way to tell time.

Like Apple Savior, which is the day before which you are not supposed to eat apples (probably to prevent hungry peasants from harvesting unripe apples and getting sick). If you swim on epiphany, you will be healthy for the rest of the year, so all the swimming places in Moscow have a spot where the ice has been sawed through. I've always assumed it goes the other way; the unhealthy people know better than to strip off when it's 20 below and dunk themselves in ice-cold water then face a 15 minute hike to the parking lot.
We once gave up sex for Lent. Terrible idea. After twoo weeks I was going crazy. I finally cracked when Mrs Bee bent down to get a can of soup off a low shelf and man did she look good. I just grabbed her and went right to it. She was not happy. And the manager of the supermarket said we can't shop there any more.
I'm giving up all credulity and superstition. I will stop believing there is a difference between the invisible and the non-existent.
This may have been funny, but it sure dated you! Nuns teaching? Baltimore Catechism? Choir boys wearing cassocks? My guess is that you're in your 60's or 70's! :)
I just hit 60. My friends tell me I don't look a day over 59.
Give up Catholicism. BC '73
Already gave it up--I think it only counts once.
How about disorganized religion, like snake handling, or throwing yourself under the juggernaut?
I'm giving up sacrifice for Lent.
That's like a mobius strip prayer blanket.
Yup, like a lot of people here, I gave up Catholicism for Lent. A long, long time ago. But just to participate, I think I'll give up liver.