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Beyond Lent

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To my friends and family,

Pardon the mass e-mail; it seemed incredibly tedious to copy, paste, and re-address this countless, maybe even 14 ½, times (Mikes Pelham and Stein being a nominal "two-fer"). Like all of you, I have things to do - or not do, as you'll soon find out.

As some of you may know, this Lent I decided to give up several behaviors, products, philosophies, and the vast majority of my nose hair, which I've now come to realize was almost ludicrously decadent.

Of course I don't subscribe to Catholic, or really to any specific religious, dogma; my personal faith is less "religious" and more "spiritual in a non-denominational, non-faith-based, pro-application-of-the-term-karma to people I feel have wronged me kind of way" in tone.

I think the best way to describe it is "moral foodieism."

But while I may not agree with the entire spiritual underpinning of "Lent," I liked the idea of participating in it as a personal-growth exercise, in line with my previous efforts to read Cats in the original feline, or to get taller.

The whole experiment has worked so well that I'm planning to continue my dedication to abstention even after these initial forty days are up. I tell you this only in the spirit of holding myself accountable; please don't feel as though my own commitment to self-improvement, even outside the convenient, thoughtless crutch of religious prescription, is some sort of indictment on you. Except in the case of Jim Nyborg, it's not.

First off, I've decided to give up a number of consumable items, including licorice jellybeans, canned products that I don't really need for a recipe, and wheatberries. I know some of you may take issue with that last choice, but I'm sorry, I just can't imagine a situation in which I wouldn't prefer orzo.

I can no longer support the corrupt and corrupting tobacco industry by adding to their bottom line. Accordingly, I'll only be bumming cigarettes from now on.

While I won't be giving up alcohol, out of respect for social convention and my friends, who would probably feel awkward about it at parties, I will be giving up any sense of guilt or shame associated with its consumption. I'm not saying this will make incidents like last weekend's "Professor Sharpie Q. Penisdrawing" any more or less common, but I am saying that I won't be buying Susan any more "PsQ apology brunches."

Though I haven't, yet, I'd be happy to give up my 32" television in exchange for any larger, or higher-definition model.

I've given up on Lindsay Lohan, a decision many of you might think is long overdue. More than most of you, I've long had a semi-ironic appreciation for her early, Parent Trap-era work, but after Liz and Dick, even I have to admit that my life would be happier, and healthier, without me-watching-her in it.

I've also given up irony. From here forward, I'll participate only in sarcasm, cynicism, and tongue-in-cheek nostalgia. This will have little to no effect on the "Bosom Buddies' Appreciation Club," on or off facebook, but my collection of Darkwing Duck memorabilia is officially up for grabs.

Yours, except for Jim Nyborg, who I've just decided to give up,

Nicolas