Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Or as they say in French, “Je suis ainsi bu je ne peux pas sentir mon visage!”
Ah, Mardi Gras. There’s only one bunch of folks that could even think about throwing a party this badass – Catholics getting ready to give up one thing for the next 40 days. For those of you that don’t know, Mardi Gras (literally French for “Fat Tuesday” – kinda makes you rethink ordering that delicious foie gras, doesn’t it?) actually has a point (!) – to celebrate the upcoming Easter season of “Lent,” where people get back the things that they’ve lent out over the last 40 days.
I kid, I kid. Since Lent is actually a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and reflection on the time Jesus spent in the Desert, Mardi Gras is basically the opposite, designed to make you forget how miserable day to day life is getting ready to make you: A 2-month long carnival that culminates in a week-long drunken stupor devoid of any memories, during which religion is basically reduced to “Dear God, if you help me stop thrBLLLEEEGGHHH.”
(Editor’s note: Normally, this is where I’d post a relevant picture, maybe a funny caption … But a google image search for “passed out drunk” yielded enough pictures of what might or might not be rape to make me turn my SafeSearch back on.)
For those of you that know me, picture me making this face.
Okay, what was I talking about? Oh, right. Mardi Gras.
So, basically, picture it this way: Let’s say you’re Catholic. (Sorry – it’s just for the remainder of the blog, I promise.) You’re about to embark on the soul’s voyage of 40 days without something. Now, it can be anything, and preferably, it’s something important to you – but generally we’re talking about one thing here. It can be chocolate, Facebook, masturbation, anything. It can even be surfing Facebook while masturbating with Hershey’s syrup. Oh, I almost forgot: For reasons I could never comprehend as a child, Lent is null and void on Sundays, and you’re not supposed to eat meat on Friday, as though the ascended Son of God recognizes and gives a shit about Earth’s time tables.
Jesus: A lot more contemporary than you might think!
In Eastern religion, we do what’s called “deal with it.” Boring, I agree. That’s why in Catholicism, they do something called “EVERYBODY PANIC” for a period of time ranging from Epiphany (January 6), i.e., what would be the “thirteenth day” of Christmas, until Ash Wednesday, when everybody finally sombers and sobers up for the month or so ahead, at the conclusion of which is Easter when, to my understanding, Jesus turns into an egg-laying rabbit.
So basically what we hear about as “Mardi Gras” in popular culture is actually just the last day of a worldwide party. Celebrations in Venice, New Orleans and Rio de Janiero all draw millions of intercontinental visitors every year, and other celebrations go down in numerous other countries. I mean, I can’t necessarily say I agree with the connotations, as the excess clearly outweighs the sacrifice, but I have to admit it’s a pretty awesome way to throw down, and that I wish I was there. And finally, I also have to postulate that if the Vatican were able to work booze and the boobs-for-beads program into Mass, a lot more people would go more than twice a year.
It is right to give Sister Sindee thanks and praise and $100 an hour.