*sigh* Late, as usual. (The dragon is getting done, but I’m sick, again.)
In the meantime, and lacking in news info because I’ve been watching Olympics, I am submitting a very non-serious start to Lent.
The lead-up: At the Naval Academy (at least back when we had a real plebe year, unlike everyone after us…), plebes (aka freshmen) had a rough time at breakfast and lunch. We sat with our squads, stood at attention before meal, ate at attention, and got grilled on professional knowledge. “Weapons fore to aft on the Arleigh Burke destroyer, and pass the ketchup!” was not unheard-of conversation.
On Fridays, the upperclassmen were usually exhausted from their own weeks; they, after all, were heavy into their majors courses. Plebes were busy trying to survive and trying to sleep through Chemistry. Anyways, Fridays, therefore, were joke day.
I was known as a miserable joke teller, but this week, luck was with me. I had a good joke from the music/humor tape that had been playing in the local Irish shop. And the set-up was about to make it priceless.
It was Lent. On Fridays, the entree was some sort of fish, out of respect for the Catholics, who abstain from meat in Lent on Fridays. (We all had to eat the exact same thing, so there wasn’t really a way to give options, except that every table got bread, peanut butter, and jelly as a last resort. That’s lunch “family style” with about 4,000 of your closest friends.)
One of my upperclassmen came in, threw his cover (aka “hat”) onto the hat shelf under his chair, and commenced ranting about the fish.
“Why do I have to eat fish?!? I’m not Catholic! This is all your fault! [pointing at me, the only Catholic plebe in the squad] Tell me why I have to eat fish?!? What happened to separation of church and state!?!?!”
The rest of the squad laughed at him, and I, upon further questioning, admitted to hating fish (especially the Navy version: square or triangle) and commented that I got through Lent on peanut butter and jelly.
Then, after the fish had been picked over, came joke time.
A while back, in Ireland, John, a Protestant boy, fell madly in love with Mary, a Catholic girl. Deciding that mixed-marriages were not wise, he decided that he would convert. John converted happily, they were married, and life seemed good.
One day, Father O’Malley, the local priest, dropped by to pay the newlyweds a visit.
“Oh, hello, Father! I’ve been meaning to come talk to you…” began John uneasily.
“Why? What’s the matter? It isn’t Mary, is it? You haven’t changed your mind now?” worried the priest.
“Oh, no, Father, Mary’s wonderful! I couldn’t be happier being married. The problem is…” and John dropped his voice to a confidential whisper: “I don’t feel Catholic.”
“Hmmm. That is a problem.” The priest pondered for a minute. “Well, try this: whenever you don’t ‘feel Catholic’, just tell yourself, ‘I’m not a Protestant, I’m a Catholic. I’m not a Protestant, I’m a Catholic.’ See if that helps, and I’ll look for some books that might help, too.”
Grateful, John thanked the priest, Mary came in from shopping, and all had a lovely visit.
A week later, bringing the promised books, Father showed up at John and Mary’s house and knocked on the door. Mary opened it, and a lovely smell wafted out.
“Well, good morning, Mary! And how are– Wait a minute. That isn’t a smell that should be coming from a good Catholic house on a Friday, Mary!”
Rolling her eyes, Mary gestured the priest inside and replied simply, “Check the kitchen, Father.”
Reaching the kitchen, Father O’Malley found John standing over a huge, fragrant, sizzling steak. As the juices dripped and the wonderful smells filled the entire neighborhood… [and now my upperclassman was practically drooling and looking like, seriously, he would’ve liked to have strangled me, except his classmates were loving seeing him squirm…]
Waving his grill spatula at the pan, John was telling the steak, “You’re not a steak, you’re a flounder! You’re not a steak, you’re a flounder!”