Abstinence, Birth Control Given Up For Lent
Through devoutly self-less acts aimed at clawing their way back into the good graces of what most people call "'ole You-Know-Who", millions of Catholics have reluctantly chosen to participate in the season of lent -- a time when believers temporarily stop doing little things they wouldn't really miss anyway in a weeks-long tribute to whatever it was that happened in the Bible all those years ago -- in order to save their own asses.
Area resident Joan Farrell, who has never been to church a day in her life, thought it was about time to show the Lord how much she really did want to avoid hell.
"I swore off abstinence and birth control, two of my favorite pastimes," Farell says, adding that she was only sore for the first few days but is still taking late-night male callers in the order in which they were received.
"I'm getting used to it," she confides, rubbing on baby oil.
Not everyone has had such a smooth transition into going without.
"I'll tell you right now, there's no way in hell I'm going to last the entire six weeks," ex-alter boy Tony Marble declares, nipping something in the bud. "But I think Jesus knows it's the thought that counts."
Marble, who swore off pan-fried Spam, admits he is already looking forward to the whole ordeal being over.
"Although I don't even know what Spam tastes like, I'm sure I'd be missing it right about now," he says, tossing down a beer and belching chunkily.
Lent is a world-wide phenomenon even in today's age of science and flying cars; guilty self-loathers on most of the Earth's continents, including North America and specifically the United States, continue to participate in the age-old tradition.
"My mom said Jesus already died for our sins, so I don't have to stop drinking or smoking." Megan Roath, an anorexic 7th grader, announced during class sharing. However, Roath did state that she would stop taking laxatives for at least a couple of days.
"If I get fat, though, I'm switching religions," she swore, taking her seat. Several other children nodded their heads.
But do such vows really "count" towards lent? Catholic priests, who regularly speak to Jesus and provide him with advice on his wardrobe and automobile, say they understand the need to bend the rules a bit to better suit a constantly changing, unruly, morally bankrupt social set.
"We all know that poor people, by financial default, don't have to participate in lent," Father Brin, head of a parish, commented Sunday. "And neither do politicians, because they already make such wonderful contributions to the institution of religion to begin with. But the drudgery of lent can now be avoided by one and all by contributing a substitution fee to the donation basket when it's passed around during one of my bi-weekly church sermons."
A special drop-off box has also been installed in front of St. Roman's Catholic Church for commuters who'd rather keep driving in rush hour than let their ass cheeks go numb sitting in rock-hard pews for over an hour, just to drop wads of cash in the wicker bowl and eat chalk-dry wafers that stick to the roofs of their unworthy mouths.
"They don't even hand out real wine anymore," one parishner complained, after his wife threatened to leave the kids home with him if he didn't attend church with her. He scraped at the inside of his palate with a dirty finger, adding, "This is puritanical bullshit, man."
Father Brin himself says he understands very well that humans might find particular challenge in a season of this type.
"There's winter, summer, spring and fall... and then there's lent, the most miserable season of all," he proclaimed, lighting a candle. "This is definitely one of the more difficult times in being a man of the cloth."
Making the sign of the cross, he added, "Why, I myself gave up young boys and tabernacle wine just this morning."
"I like lent," a small choir boy said, ringing a bell.