Giving Up

Those marshmallow Santa Clauses are starting to assume the proper texture, so Ash Wednesday is right around the corner. This means Lent begins, for those of you who don’t keep track of these things, and for those who do, it means giving up something for the 40 day period of contemplation and penance. I have a few suggestions.

Nay, I say to thee, oh cynical and derisive reader: nay! This is not going to be a cheap shot at banana boxes. I don’t want you to give up banana boxes. I want you to KEEP them.

But how about giving up your e-reading for 40 days and stick to print on paper? It will give you time to reflect on what print gives you that an electronic device cannot. Think of yourself, decades hence, telling a tot, “Guard this well, child: it was your great-grandmother’s Bible.”

And the tot will snort and say, “Gramps, this is an obsolete electronic device with a dead battery.”

“Well, yes,” you’ll reply. “She downloaded it; it’s the King Jamizzle translation.”

And can a Kindle stop a bullet if you carry it over your heart? I’m not saying it won’t; I’m just asking.

You could give up thrift. I don’t mean you have to stop clipping coupons or driving around looking for the best price on bananas. I mean those of you who save money on photocopy machines by not making copies of the pages you like in books and magazines. I got a goodly load last week where the owners had ripped out the pages they wanted to keep and sent the Newberry what was left. (Somebody else gave us a load of World War II Esquire magazines with all the full page cartoons and Varga Girls torn out. I think that’s a felony.)

I am probably not the first person in the past hundred years to suggest you give up comic books for Lent. But my suggestion is not based on grounds that they will corrupt you. I’m saying that collection of 1940s superhero comics gives you an affair economic edge over your neighbors, and you could give it all up to a nice local Book Fair. The same goes for those naughty pictures Great-Uncle Frank picked up during the Columbian Exposition.

If you wanted to give up honking your horn, I would vouch for you one day before the Pearly Gates. I’m thinking specifically of those of you who drive up to the loading dock on rainy days and honk until the Manager comes out to unload your car. I would also speak up for you if you stop honking at me when I’m trying to wheel three boxes of Encyclopedia Americana through an intersection.

Maybe you’ve thought of giving up computer card games. This would free up time so you could read more and improve your mind. I’m all for that, and have been trying to put books for you on the carts outside the A.C. (Avoid Cards) McClurg Bookstore: Beating Online Poker, Free Cell Strategy, Clubbing Your Opponents at Hearts….the kind of stuff to broaden your world.

As for me, what am I giving up? Well, there have been suggestions I’m becoming too pleasant in my blog. I’ll think that over.

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