I’ve been nervously toying with the idea of giving up alcohol for Lent – not that I’m religious, mind you, I just like the self-denial aspect of it – but a peek at the calendar showed a lot of family events scheduled during those 40 days, and let’s just say…on second thought, I better not say anything. Let's just say giving up booze at this particular time would be a HUGE sacrifice for someone not expecting to get into Heaven.
But a recent hangover has me giving it some serious consideration. After spending all of Sunday on the couch, I’ve come to the realization that alcohol is bad for you! Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but absinthe makes the liver grow feet, which it uses to kick you in the nuts repeatedly. No wonder Hemingway offed himself.
So I've decided I’m going to bite the bullet and do it. This won’t be my first foray into sobriety. A few years ago, when my wife got pregnant, I voluntarily gave up drinking as a sign of solidarity. Back then I didn’t consider the calendar, which was a good thing, as I would have noticed that nine months starting in the middle of the summer would take me from the height of picnic season to Oktoberfest, and straight (literally) through the holiday season. But since I loved my wife, and don’t drink alone, it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal. And it wasn’t.
To be honest, I didn't make it through the entire nine months…but neither did she! I made it all the way to Thanksgiving, where I was enviously watching my brother open his second bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (a holiday tradition) when my wife picked up his glass and took a sip.
“What was that?” I asked, in disbelief.
“What? It was just a sip…”
“I know, but you’re drinking…”
“No. I took a sip.”
“Yes, but technically, you’re drinking. And I said I wouldn’t drink unless you could.”
“So? So you’re drinking! That means I can too! Pass that bottle over here!”
Had this loophole not been discovered, I would have dutifully carried out my commitment through April. But once you open Pandora's Box, or bottle. it's hard to put a lid on it. Thus began a several months of me forcing my wife to sip off of things I wanted to drink. Sometimes I’d just dip my finger in a glass and touch it to her lips. So long as she imbibed first, I was in the clear.
But Lent doesn’t leave room for such loopholes. Sure, there are those who claim Sunday is a “free” day where you can take a break and partake in whatever you’re abstaining from, but who wants to drink on a Sunday? Unless…
When I was Australia, I was half a day ahead of everyone back home. So maybe if there was a way I could observe Australian Lent, then my Saturday night would be their Sunday afternoon. Hmmm…this could work. I could stock up on Yellowtail and Foster’s, dig out my “Men at Work” CDs, and make reservations at the local “Outback” – that way I can make it to Good Friday and still have a G’day!