All that Lent stuff

Question: How many weeks belong to a year?
Answer: Forty-six. The other six are only Lent.

Old jokes are always the best, they say, and perhaps I should, for everyone's sakes, give up joke-telling for Lent. There are lots of other things I'd like to give up — having to listen to those mobile phones (or "cellphones" to our American readership) that play the William Tell overture, for example. But, on reflection, I don't suppose that really counts.

I would happily go without Microsoft Word, though. For those of you not well acquainted with the world of computers, Microsoft Word is what is called a word processor. That means (based on empirical research by me) that it takes your words and processes them into something resembling a Scrabble board in an earthquake. The spell checker is a real pain: if I select "English (Great Britain)" and start typing, it says, "Ah, you must have made a mistake, you want German." If I insist on English, it compromises and selects Italian instead.

The trick with Lent, of course, is to find something you could easily give up without actually going without anything, if you see what I mean. You have to be careful about what you choose — giving up doing something like the washing-up, for example, is an attractive prospect, but unless you have a very understanding family to support you in this form of asceticism things very quickly get quite unbearable — but you can usually find something that you can forego without making life difficult. I've found giving up listening to Kylie Minogue CDs to be a very good way of getting through Lent with my sanity intact. The important thing, of course, is that it can be made to sound impressive: "I've given up music for Lent." I don't have to specify what music I've given up, do I?

P.S.: It has been brought to my attention that referring to Kylie Minogue's output as "music" is stretching a point somewhat. I'll have to think of something else next year.

By: Andrew Bossom, e-mail:
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