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As a lifelong practicing Roman Catholic, I like to have a good Lent every year. Since the pandemic, mine have been a little lackluster. Wanting to go big this year, I briefly entertained giving up booze, but then I remembered that I write about politics for a living. I ended up opting for a Lenten penance that many who are close to me believed to be unthinkable: I gave up cheese.
I should have known by the reactions of some of my close friends and family how tough this would be. When I told them I was thinking about giving up cheese, the reaction was always along the lines of, “Are you sure about that?”
In my defense, I thought that I had given up cheese for Lent not too long ago. Apparently, I’d only considered it, because I would remember this tastebud deprivation trauma. Either that, or I had mentally blocked out the ordeal to protect my sanity.
As Ash Wednesday approached, I was feverishly attempting to finish all of the cheese in my refrigerator. The fact that there were six different varieties of cheese in the fridge should have been my hint that I was heading into a dark, dark place. I mean, who has that much queso fresco when you’re only eating tacos once a week?!?!!? Yeah, I could eat tacos more frequently but I like Taco Tuesday being my special time.
All I know is that everything smells like pizza now. I feel that I’m one olfactory fever dream away from everything looking like pizza too. I don’t want to meet an attractive woman and ruin things by asking if I can get her with pepperoni and anchovies.
I’ve found that there is no real substitute for cheese in the world of food, save maybe crippling alcoholism.
Yes, I realize that by publicly complaining about this I’m failing the spirit of Lenten penance. It’s OK. I will earnestly seek the Lord’s forgiveness and He will give it to me.
We’ve done this before.
Per the rules, Lenten penance doesn’t apply on Sundays during Lent. I’ve always not availed myself of the Sundays off option because I felt it was just easier to not have a weekly teaser. The cheese thing broke me and I’ve indulged on two of the three Sundays this Lent. I was right, the teaser makes it worse. I have to lay off until Easter Sunday.
When I will be bathing in nachos.
I’m off to turn in my Super Catholic badge now.