This one should stick, hopefully, like the one that kicked this whole thing off. 

I don’t know where you come down on the whole deciding to give something up for Lent deal. I was never in the habit of doing it or at the very least doing it well or with any conviction until last year when I gave up t.v. Looking back giving up t.v. probably kicked a lot of things off for me that I didn’t intend. It set me on a path of reading and getting rid of clutter and ultimately writing this blog. Who knew giving up something that I did to supposedly unwind would give rise to so many other worthwhile things.

Anyway, the idea of giving up something for Lent is that we’re supposed to experience some of the sacrifice Jesus did when he traded his life for ours. We’re supposed to feel some of the pain in giving up one of our vices that he felt on the cross. We’re supposed to suffer a little bit. From what I’ve learned about crucifixion it seems a little silly to think that my giving up something that’s bad for me anyway approximates what he went through but you know, first-world dilemmas. But this isn’t some treatise on the religious ideology of the season.

Nope, this is about me quitting something, and not just for 40 days. I’m hoping (praying really) that this sticks like giving up t.v. did last year and kicks off a bunch of good things. I’ve decided that I’m quitting sweets. I know, a gasp just went up from the crowd.

If you know me you know I love a good brownie like none other. I worshiped my Grandma Frederick’s chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and molasses crinkles. I would have made my old basketball coach, Paul Norblade, proud the way I boxed out to keep you away from my Grandma Giffin’s strawberry rhubarb or butterscotch meringue pie. And ice cream? I’m like some sort of bloodhound when I’m on the road the way I can sniff out a Dairy Queen, Dairy Cream, Dairy Twist, really a “Dairy” anything when I travel for work. But unfortunately that has to end. Like I said last week I have to stop ignoring my health.

To be fair I’ve taken some steps in this direction already. I’ve given up my candy bar in the afternoon and pop but this takes things to another level. This is just pretty darn serious but it’s necessary. The pain I experience today is at worst a result of and at best exacerbated by the mass I’m asking my joints and back to bear. Folks, let’s not sugarcoat it, I’m fat. I did the math a few years ago and determined that since high school I’ve consistently put on about a third of a pound every month. That doesn’t sound like very much and really it’s not. It amounts to around a Snickers a day all things being equal. (Analytical-me taught me some skills, huh?). It wasn’t just Snickers and ice cream though and Grandma didn’t feed me every day. Oh no, I made other habits like Eileen’s Cookies (monster, btw) TCBY (parfaits with the kids, “It’s a treat for the kids, you know?”) and Sunrize Donuts (double chocolate cake and fried cinnamon rolls (as if being a cinnamon roll wasn’t enough, they had to fry them!)). Right now I imagine you’re a little aghast and thinking, ‘Buddy, you got a problem.’ Ya think?! Preaching to the choir, sister, preaching to the choir. So this won’t be easy. Many of you won’t remember a song from 1976 called “Junk Food Junkie” by Larry Groce. This one-hit wonder was about a guy who admitted “in the daytime, I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as I can be. But at night I’m a junk food junkie, good Lord have pity on me.” I checked out the lyrics to make sure I remembered it correctly and even 40 plus years later we’re still doing stuff this guy’s Mr. Natural persona does in public and quite honestly I’m still doing a lot of the stuff he does in secret. Until today, that is. So, in an effort to avoid being found someday “stretched out on my bed, with a can of Pringles potato chips and a Ding Dong by my head.” (Catchy, isn’t it? You can see why it made it as high as #9) I’m saying sayonara to sweets.

How am I going to do it? Well, for one thing, I’m having a nose job done so I can’t sniff out dairy stores and getting the steering fixed on my pickup so it doesn’t veer into donut shops. My Grandmas have both passed away and with all due respect to my aunts no one makes those desserts the way they used to. TCBY is out of business (at least near us) so I’ve got that going for me (which is nice) but unfortunately Eileen’s just keeps churning out those cookies (damn them!). Sunrize is out of my way and Krispy Kreme is always busy and the Winchell’s’ people just flat out don’t like me. I’m grasping, can you tell? I know I said it before, but just for emphasis, IT AIN’T GONNA BE EASY! But who knows? Maybe my creativity will kick in and I can trump up as many excuses not to go as I did to go in the first place. I’ll take any suggestions.

I’m sure you’ve never felt the tugging of a tiramisu or the siren song of a Snickers, but just in case one of your friends has, go ahead and share this with them. Or, if you’re honest, what’s your weakness? Misery loves company people and I need all the community I can get on this one, thanks! 

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