Flash Wednesday

by Rachel on March 9, 2011

Today marks the beginning of Lent! You know what that means — everyone is talking about what they are giving up. While I no longer partake in the tradition of getting ashes on my forehead to remind me of my sins (I’m pretty aware of them), it’s now my Lenten tradition to share my strong feelings about the whole “What are you giving up?” conversation by re-posting Smash Wednesday, one of my favorite posts of all time.

The post grew out of the stand-up comedy routine I did in my Catholic high school’s talent show — despite the fact that it was a pretty watered-down version with like, one, joke, it did not go over well. Post high school, I expanded on it through stand-up and it later evolved into a post that originally appeared on “The Spartanette,” my blog in college. Be sure to read the rest!

And, now, for what shall now be another Lenten tradition, I must share my favorite Mardi Gras story of all time!

Last year, on Fat Tuesday, I was sitting at my computer, probably blogging, G-chatting, or doing something else equally cool and exciting (rhymes with…”Smacehook”). My mom asked me sarcastically why I wasn’t out drinking and celebrating Mardi Gras. I didn’t say anything. I just gave her my best “Girls Gone Wild” squeal and flashed her.

I don’t think she was expecting that I wasn’t wearing a bra. The look on her face was priceless. We laughed and laughed and laughed. I’m still laughing just thinking about it.

Did you do anything for Mardis Gras? Pancakes? Paczkis? And do you partake in the Lenten tradition of giving something up? HOLLER.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dori March 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

Hahahahaha love the story about flashing your mom. And of course I love your Smash Wednesday observations — brilliant.


2 Heather B March 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

I ate far too much crap yesterday for Mardi Gras. But what can I say, I’m from New Orleans. Sorry, I’m not sorry. I don’t generally give anything up for Lent, but this year I’ve decided to give up being unhealthy, which is way better than giving up chocolate.


3 Kat March 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

I ate my traditional 1/2 a paczki…and then about 12 pizza rolls. Fat Tuesday indeed. Did you know they’re awesome dipped in french onion dip? Ugh. Sometimes, awful food is so awesome.

Not giving anything up this year. Couple years ago a girlfriend and I gave up ‘making good decisions’ for Lent. It was a pretty amazing spring…that I credit with my current boyfriend!


4 Manon March 9, 2011 at 10:37 am

Bwahahaha….I love that you flashed your mom. I don’t really get into Mardi Gras…and I’m not Catholic, or religious in any other way, so I totally don’t do Lent, nor understand people who are only Catholic when Lent rolls around. Is Lent only a Catholic thing? I don’t even know. I just don’t get people who don’t go to church or partake in any other religious/church activities….but all of a sudden lent comes around and you’re giving up coffee/sugar/alcohol/etc etc?? If you are going to all of a sudden be practicing your religion, why the heck would you do it when it’s time to give stuff up? I also believe that going to church makes you christian about as much as standing in a garage makes you a car, so maybe people really do practice their religion on their own, they just vocalize it only at Lent? It doesn’t affect me in any way, so it falls into my “each to their own, who cares?” category…it just confuses me, which has been proven by this ridiculous comment. I’ll go back to day time tv now :)


5 Meredith @ An Epic Change March 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

I had a pancake dinner at my church then proceeded to go downtown (a block from my church…) and get bouncers to buy me free drinks. I also drunk dialed the Westboro Baptist Church from 6th street in Austin.

I’m giving up alcohol for Lent.


6 Kristen March 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

Ahhh-mazing! I think we should all get together and drunk dial Westboro Baptist Church! I’m putting that on my bucket list.


7 Danielle March 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

hahaha great story. Reminds me of the time a friend flashed me and another friend on skype (bra on) and my friends Mother walked in right at that time. She was very confused as to why our friend was showing us her bra.

I also don’t partake in ash wednesday anymore, and for the first time in a few years I will be giving some foods up for lent. I used to give up chocolate and chips as a kid so I thought I’d rekindle my youth by giving up some treats and goodies that I love.


8 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

I’m so glad I don’t have to give anything up for a month:-) I have enough trouble giving up bread, etc. for 8 days of Passover. Your stand-up cracked me up, would love to have seen that.


9 marie March 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’m always saying how I’d like to be more of a slut around my mom so I’m really inspired by this post.

Several Ash Wednesdays ago, some Catholic peeps all came into work with dirty foreheads, to my complete bewilderment. I said to this girl, “um, you’ve got a little something right here,” [points to forehead] and she’s like, “Uh, yeah! It’s ASH WEDNEDSAY.” I was intrigued.


10 Rachel March 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm

The first line of this comment is just wonderful.


11 Kristen March 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

I had a paczki yesterday and made sure to haul my ass to the gym for some extra cardio to undo the damage. I’m trying to be all about balance! One might argue “Why have the paczki at all?” but I’m from the Detroit area, therefore the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday always equals paczki day!

I do give things up for Lent, even though I’m not a very good Catholic (read about it here: http://scatteringjoy.blogspot.com/2011/03/lenten-promises.html) because it’s sort of a spiritual thing for me. It also, in the past, has helped me shed some lbs, eliminate semi-destructive behavior, and increase my happiness. Viva Lent!


12 shelby March 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

Um, yeah, as a vaguely agnostic person who has very little self-control anyway, I don’t do the lent thing. I did gorge myself on pizza yesterday, but that’s par for the course.

Your post from last year is so spot on! I knew I guy who once literally had to leave early from dinner on a Friday night (during which he made a big deal about having fish) to go bang some girl before his girlfriend got home. Um, yeah….


13 Savannah March 9, 2011 at 11:34 am

Loved your Smash Wednesday post! I totally agree with your observations and I feel like I should go to my Mom’s house and flash her…the last time she saw me topless sh took one look at my nipple ring and left the room. :D


14 lauren March 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

I am giving up FACEBOOK for Lent! Not easy at all.

I kind of also want to give up wine (I may have had a liiiitle bit too much to drink last night) but am still on the fence. My partner’s birthday is at the end of the month, and our 3-year anniversary is early April, and I’d like to toast to both of those occasions, so… not sure about the vino :)


15 Rachel March 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

WOW! That is not going to be easy at all!!


16 Melissa March 9, 2011 at 11:52 am

Bahahahaha! Thank you for always cracking me up–even if I’m sitting at my computer laughing while my students are taking a test. Whoops! :D

I have to give up mindless eating . . . not just for Lent but forever.


17 Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks March 9, 2011 at 11:53 am

My father’s side of the family is catholic, but I was raised protestant.

So every year, all of my friends would start talking about giving things up. 90% of the time as a kids my friends would give up chocolate. I would ask them what lent was about and why they chose chocolate. I wound nod, “Hmm…” and give them my fullest attention. Then I would say, “Oh. Okay.” and eat a candy bar.

Next time, ladies, give up brussels sprouts.


18 Stephanie March 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hahah. Love this! I’m agnostic and my children are being raised by their father (my ex) as Catholics. Since it’s shaky ground we tread during Lent the one thing I have promised myself and my kids is that I will be mindful of something in particular during lent rather than giving something tangible up and that I will use THIS time of the year to really explore how I feel about my religious beliefs. I will not hate on the tradition because I see the beauty in the act through watching my own children give away candy they’ve earned to friends when they have chosen candy as what they’re giving up. This year I’m giving up laziness for the next 40 days.


19 Leigh March 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the laugh. I have a good chuckle at the bloggers who declare they have given up *ta-da* NUT BUTTER during Lent.


20 Rachel March 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm

lolwut??? people really did that?!


21 Erin March 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

LOL , I saw that. And appreciated this post even more. Specific kinds of nut butters, too!


22 ana March 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

So, I am totally not catholic, and know nothing about the religion. This morning, I saw a person with something on their forehead and I tried to be helpful, by being all like, dude you got something on your forehead. I was met by a blank stare. Finally, they explained to me what ash Wednesday is.
My new favourite thing to do ( for today) is to come up to people and tell them they seem to have dirt on their forehead. So far I’v told four. And it’s funny. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.


23 Bree March 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Yeah the requisite Catholic guilt is telling me I should have probably gone to church over my lunch break. I am reading blogs instead.

Totally love that quote at the top. It’s so true. When I was a little kid I always picked something to give up that wasn’t that hard to do and was very specific…like giving up red licorice. My Mom wasn’t impressed. I’m sure God wasn’t either.


24 Christie March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I’m not even remotely religious, and yet, people still ask me what it is I am giving up for Lent.

I don’t practice Lent. The only reason I knew it was coming up at all was that all the billboards plastered around the city I live in are advertising fish sandwiches. “Oh, it must be Lent time” I’d think to myself.

I wouldn’t know what to give up. Considering sloth and greed are the biggest of my sins, I’d have to be busy for 40 days and nights straight and not make a damn dollar. Hahahaha yeah right.


25 Kionda March 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I used to. I had a tradition of giving up the same thing every year. What was it you may ask? Sex. Yup I was dumb enough to give that up for Lent. Every year. For a very long time. No more. I don’t see the point. I’m more in the tradition now of taking something on or starting something new. Why give something up if you’re just going to go back to doing it after Easter? I don’t get it. Seriously. Makes no sense.


26 Sable March 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

You must be joking, I have FAR too little self control to give anything up for Lent.

Also…I read this post while sitting in my school library and in an effort not to laugh, snorted LOUDLY and may or may not have then made a MAD dash for a tissue box. Nothin’ but class!


27 Mandy March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I was a catholic school girl too, except I’ve never really been into religion. I totally am with you on the silliness of giving things up on lent when you don’t really do anything ‘catholic’ the rest of the year. What’s the point? I could understand using it as a personal challenge, but I would never do it as a strictly religious thing.

I also think most of the rules and traditions are silly anyways, but that’s just me.


28 Ashley Breton March 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I think last year I gave up soda for lent? But not because of a guilt thing, but because I wanted to lose weight! ha! I love your comedy stand up line. Totally true and while maybe exaggerated, probably accurate.


29 Angela (the diet book junkie) March 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

that is hilarious. (although, i think my mom would have a heart attack if i flashed her one.) i can’t believe i forgot it was fat tuesday, i can delay Lent for a day or two…er, right? :)


30 Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily March 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I don’t participate in Lent anymore but I remember years ago having to go to church with my family. While we were there, the priest handed out pieces of paper for us to write our sins on (WEIRD RIGHT?) and after we finished we would come to the alter and hand it to him. He would read it (to himself thank god) and then toss it into a little bonfire. I was convinced that when he tossed mine in there that the whole church would burn down.


31 Hannah March 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I’m never good at giving things up for Lent, because I don’t think about them until after it is already started. I’ve been trying not to drink diet soda for awhile, but I started it a few days before. Strangely enough, I’ve felt more dehydrated since…


32 Sarah March 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I had plenty of junk yesterday in preparation for the Lenten season. Giving up a few things, cheese and cursing among them, this year. Should be a super fun time!


33 Jess-The SemiAbnormal Gal March 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I didn’t really do Fat Tuesday this year…although one year, before I gave up fast food for Lent, I drove to Checkers for the spicy fries, Chickfila for a sandwich and Hardees for a peach milkshake. Yep, I sure did. I too didn’t go to Ash Wednesday services this year, since the church I attend is about an hour from my house/work and technically it’s not a holy day of obligation, but I am giving up swearing for Lent. I enjoy dropping the Fbomb and taking the “lord’s name” (in all it’s variations!) in vain just a touch too much. Whoopsie. So, for the next 40 days, if I exclaim “dear swet Lord!” it will literally be in praise.


34 Alanna Joy March 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I am giving up cheese.

It’s going to be a long 40 days.


35 heidi @ runaroundaroo March 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Ha. Flashing your mom…priceless!

Pancakes?! I did have pancakes for lunch, but it was random leftover lunch…yum!


36 Rachel's Mom March 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

At lunch today one of the teachers, who I didn’t even know was Catholic, hell, maybe she’s not, was talking about what she was “giving up” for lent. I almost opened my mouth to speak…I was going to say something about maybe doing something positive more often, rather than giving something up, but then I thought better of it, shook my head, and just didn’t say anything.

At least you didn’t turn this into total trash by talking about what you would “give up” for lent, like forbidden, taboo things in the bedroom. When I think of” giving something up,” that’s what I think of, which is maybe why you are the way you are.


37 Rachel March 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm

LOL at all that.

Also — I think of that too. Like, when someone says, “What are you giving up?” I’m like, “Oh, what AREN’T I giving up?” But the deeply ingrained Catholic guilt prevents me from actually going there. Like you said, I don’t want to be total trash. And anyway, if I learned one thing in high school religion class, it’s that you have to save something for marriage.


38 zenlizzie March 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I don’t think I really understand the motivation of Lent in its “proper” form. I wasn’t raised Catholic, and the only Presbyterians I know who participate in Lent are the “I’m-giving-up-chocolate-for-God-and-also-for-swimsuit-season” people. In the past I’ve given up stuff, but since I’ve been looking deeper into my beliefs, I’ve been too torn to make a decision on Lent, other than that since I don’t really have any idea what my motivation is, I should probably just skip it.


39 Phoebe March 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Great funny post!

I have some “serious” thoughts on Lent too though. In my mind Lent can be a meaningful tradition (I’ve never been a member of a religion that observed it) but I totally agree that it often seems trivialized by those who practice it. When you compare it to Ramadan or the fasting that the Eastern Orthodox do, giving up only one thing can seem easy. But I’m sure that many of those who observe Lent can make it a meaningful sacrifice even though it probably affects one’s life less than a more severe fast would. When I was in college I always participated in the Muslim Students’ Organization fast day during Ramadan (to teach people about Ramadan and fasting, one of the pillars of Islam) which is definitely one of my favorite things I did in college. Because I used to be anorexic in high school not eating all day was totally no thing, but I REALLY missed drinking water (it meant I couldn’t work out!) and, later in college, smoking cigarettes. I think for a lot of people, maybe, Lent is a way to kind of try out making a personal sacrifice for religious or any other reason, in the same way that my participating in the fast-for-a-day thing was.

BTW, Rachel, after I read your original post with the flashing story, I seriously have thought of it from time to time and chuckled to myself. Glad to see it again!


40 klh March 10, 2011 at 1:39 am

Love the smash Wednesday post!! I just had a similar conversation the other day about church and not going…I mean people can be so stooopsss! Like going to church is going to do anything for your late-night-partying style every other night! And since I dont go yet live a very healthy and happy life otherwise, will be looked down on by the higher power! Umm…I dont think so!

LOVE your blog!

Katie : )


41 Ashley March 11, 2011 at 7:57 am

So I went to college with this girl who swore like a sailor, would scream “fuck” on the phone at her mom and lived with her boyfriend …. but she would NOT eat meat on Fridays during Lent.


42 Ella March 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for reposting the Smash Wednesday thing. The obvious hypocrisy that occurs when we go crazy with religion (and it’s not just Catholics) is frustrating and people so often use Lent as just another way to “be good” to get to heaven… that’s why I hate being called “religious” (or “spiritual”), but that’s what you generally get called if you go to church/Bible study regularly as I do. I need to come up with another word! Not trying to get to heavy but thank you for your frankness!


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