Thursday, December 31, 2009

Am I being a Pharisee?

posted Sat, 19 Feb 2005

Does medicinal chocolate count for someone who has given up sugar for Lent? What about sugar-free peanut brittle? How about the edges of a Pop-Tart?

These are the dilemmas I find myself facing. I have given up sugar and chocolate for Lent. (And telling other people what to do.)

Of course, they never had to worry about going without chocolate for 40 days.

So if a sweet is made with a sugar substitute, does it meet the criteria of ‘verboten for Lent?’ At the candy store on Tuesday, I held the sugar-free peanut brittle in my hands for a good three minutes the other day before I decided that although it might not violate the letter, it certainly broke the spirit of my sacrifice.

I don’t consider diet Coke a violation, as I do not drink it for sweetness but for caffeine. No, I don’t wish to give up caffeine for Lent. I don’t enjoy caffeine – it’s something I do because I must.

The edges of a Pop-Tart – the part without frosting or filling – is probably pushing it. Maybe I won’t do that one any more.

I was forced to eat some M&Ms (two!) yesterday after I took an imitrex on an empty stomach right before I left work. I started to feel shaky and cold and sweaty as I drove home. I stopped at the shoe repair place to drop off some really cute black spike-heel pumps that need heel taps and grabbed a handful of M&Ms from Mr Galtelli’s M&M machine in hopes that the sugar jolt might counteract the effects of the drug.

They didn’t really help. Maybe because they were so stale and nasty. I certainly didn’t enjoy them.

This guy told me he gave up gin for Lent a few years ago. Every evening, he was in the habit of going to a small neighborhood bar for a nightcap. He went in after Lent started and told the young bartender to give him a vodka – that he’d given up gin for Lent.

The bartender leaned forward and said in a slow, sincere drawl, “Ah don’t think that’s the sacrifice the Lord is asking for, sir.”

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