Let’s say we’re at a party and we’re standing, of course, in front of the snack table. You’re drinking red wine and telling me I absolutely have to try so-and-so’s hand-made chocolate truffles.
They look decadent. We’re both drooling—me more than you, probably. You notice this and very kindly hand me a plate, a napkin and a truffle. I thank you but hand them back and say “I’ve given up sweets for Lent.”
You look at me strangely and say, “Lent hasn’t started yet.”
I look back at you just as strangely and say, “Believe me. I know.”
So was my book club on Monday night.
(Sigh.) Let me explain.
I’m raising my kids in the Methodist church, but I’m Catholic. I won’t get into my hybrid status now, but what I do want to get into is this: Every year I give up sweets for Lent, and every blessed year, I fail.
And I don’t just mean “fail.” I mean I resort to seedy, humiliating tactics that help me keep up appearances while cheating my way through six weeks of supposed sacrifice.
Here’s what I mean:
Spring 1993: My roommate Marianne and I have sworn off the good stuff. She clocks her success honestly while I sneak snacks each time she leaves the dorm room. On this particular night, I’m showing a cherry flavored Tootsie Pop who’s boss when I hear Marianne’s keys in the door. Realizing I can’t reach the trash can in time, I tear the bottom half of the paper I’m writing, use it to wrap up the Tootsie Pop and wedge said Tootsie Pop between the cushions of her favorite chair just in time. The lollipop remains in that cushiony darkness until Marianne leaves for study group. I walk the lolli to the ladies’ room to trash the evidence. I keep the sticky paper scrap, though, so I can refer to it as I rewrite my assignment.
Spring 2000: The Girl Scouts have dropped off our annual cookie shipment. I take four of the six boxes I’ve ordered and place them in the freezer for GB to enjoy. He doesn’t know the other two boxes exist. I sneak them to my car and hide them in the glove compartment so I can snack by stealth through my morning (and evening) commute.
Spring 2009: It’s late and I’m at the office, trying to hit a deadline. I’m the only one here. A few offices down, a tiny Reese’s Cup sits all lonely and isolated-like beside a coworker’s telephone. It’s been sitting there for days. I’ve zeroed in on it every time I’ve stood up to grab some tea, just like I’m zeroing in on it tonight. I’m ashamed to say this, and I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but the next thing I know, I’m peeling the wrapper off the chocolatey goodness from the comfort of my desk. This is a new low for me. Immediately I hop in my car, drive to the grocery store, and purchase a bag of mini Reese’s Cups to replenish my colleague’s singular supply. I decide I have something wrong with me. Really, really wrong.
And now I’m here, in March, in 2011, and I’m six days in. No cheating! No thoughts of cheating, even! Instead, I’m 100% dogged (and cranky) determination. Still, that doesn’t explain why I’ve kicked off my commitment to sacrificing sweets one week early.
(It kind of makes me sad…here goes…)
My 36×37 project ends on April 17th. (If you’re new here, read my very first post—it explains everything.) That’s the day I turn 37, close the book on a year, and hope I’ve crossed off all my remaining 36×37 assignments, this Lent thing being the last of them.
However, April 17th is seven days shy of Easter, and six days shy of the last day of Lent. This means that if I truly want Life Without Sweets to be assignment #36, I need to start Lent a week early, so I can at least say, “I’ve clocked my six weeks, now give me some candy.”
I’ll write a post about it then and call it a day. (And a year.)
On Monday night I baked the best-smelling and –looking chocolate chip cookies for book club. How’d they taste? I wouldn’t know.
I don’t know why, but I’m proud I can say that.
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