Henry James Foy

I have nothing against fasting, nor prayer for that matter, they’re both very noble things, and the true foundations of Lent. But what really gets me is today’s concept, viciously re-appropriated by modern society to become a crap version of New Year’s resolutions.

Jesus refrained from turning rocks into loaves of bread. He didn’t stop munching KitKat Chunkys for 40 days just so he could mope around feeling hungry and a little bit proud.

The problem is, nobody is actually going to do something that benefits society in general at Lent. Instead, smug individuals chose to give up something ultimately superfluous to their existence thus overtly announce the relinquishing of their sinful vices.

“I’m giving up swearing for Lent,” one of my friends told me this weekend. That’s great. Have a medal. “I’m giving up chocolate,” another member of the group piped up in response. Bravo. I hope they meet up at Easter and fucking scoff a fuckload of fucking Dairy Milk.

One unimaginative friend even went as far as posting ‘Anybody got any suggestions as to what I should give up for Lent?’ as their Facebook status. There are other ways to be unhappy, you know. I had to physically restrain myself from writing ‘twattish, attention-seeking statuses’. I did have some other suggestions though.

How about giving up not donating to charity, or stopping not flying to earthquake-hit disaster zones with sackfuls of urgent medical supplies? That would be something worth announcing on Facebook.

At this point, you’re probably either wanting to know exactly what I have decided to give up, or you’ve resolved to give up reading this column for Lent, or maybe forever. Not to be out-sacrificed by the general masses, I racked my brains. I wanted a habit that would be tough to break and worthwhile. Something beneficial, yet challenging. However, as I’m not overweight, a smoker, an embarrassed user of expletives, a secret public defecator or a combination of these, I was at something of a loss.

And then I found it. It’s fuelled by both a respect for sacrifice and a selfish desire for benefit. It’s a short-term struggle for long-term pleasure. For I am currently forgoing both my favourite thing and my biological enemy: cheese.

It hurts, believe me, and it has been a struggle thus far, but I’m resolved to it. Cheese is my weakness. Literally, in fact. A few bites of the creamy, soft stuff and I’m wholly incapacitated. It’s the lactose. I just can’t deal with it.I’ve taken the Lactase pills. I’ve tried to find lacto-free mozzarella . I’ve even cut out every single drop of supplementary lactose from my diet, but it’s not enough.

“As I’m not overweight, a smoker, an embarrassed user of expletives, or a combination of these, I was at something of a loss”

You may scoff. You probably should – it’s a rather anticlimactic resolution to a rather angry column topic, but I’m sure you agree, it did provide a striking visual representation. But hold your mocking. This is no easy feat.

It seems my fondness for fondue is in fact a psychological condition, and the difficulty of breaking such a dependence on the darling of dairy is well documented by such scientific titles as Breaking the Food Seduction. Did you see how much brie she ate in a week? Christ, I was dribbling.

And get this. Some evidently insane American scientists reckon they’ve found traces of morphine in cows milk, and have proved that the milk protein casein, which cheese is packed full of, produces opiates. What did the crazy Dr Barnard call cheese? ‘Dairy crack’. And I’m going cold cheddar.

But I still can’t claim to actually be making the world a better place. Unlike a graduate friend who came to stay this weekend and has given up alcohol for Lent. It was only after he told me it was to raise money for his disabled friend’s wheelchair that I hastily stopped telling him how much of a miserable bastard he’ll become for 40 days.

The long, pregnant, and very awkward silence that followed aside, I reckon his is the best reason for forfeit I’ve heard this year. That’s what Lent should be about. Helping others though sacrifice. And avoiding chronic enzyme-related genetic disorders, obviously.


  1. This isn’t a comment – it’s a sermon. Are you considering a career in the clergy? If not, please stop interpreting God for us lesser mortals. If you do decide to show some self-restraint like your friends, you might consider giving up blogging; that would do everyone a favour…

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    • there is no upper bound on what we can understand, conotrl and achieve; Steven Wolfram says we are going to be able to literally do anything we want; the Singularitarians speak of an “intelligence explosion” and the end of scarcity. These are some really smart people, and they seem to inhabit a completely different intellectual universe from the likes of yourself, Mike Ruppert or John Michael Greer.So I am left in a position where I have to decide between one of the following possibilities:a) The doomers are delusional crackpots or are vastly overstating their caseb) The genius scientists and technologists are delusional crackpots or are asleep at the wheelThis puts me in a difficult position, because I am a great respecter of the creative intellects in category b), yet I have a nagging fear that maybe the people in category a) are correct. Post-2008, the credibility of many in group b) has been seriously damaged, yet it seems absurd to think that they could all be ignoring such enormous pachyderms in the room. I try to find a rational means to decide the issue, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful, so I just choose the group that still has the most intellectual weight, and end up in the techno-optimist crowd almost by default.Now you, of all the doomers , I find very credible, but there are so many with well known mental problems, affinity for the occult and other forms of irrationality that your side doesn’t quite persuade me. There are signs that more are defecting to your camp, as when mathematical physicist John Baez recently changed career paths and began talking about environmental and resource problems. When more of these intellectual masters of the universe begin talking about collapse maybe I will jump on the doom bandwagon, but at this point I’m still enjoying my fantasy that this universe has no built-in limits on human wealth, knowledge and power, and that our civilization is at worst experiencing a minor bump in the road on the way to unimaginable future glories!

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  2. WOW… Anonymous… Harsh much? I found this quite funny to read; especially the bit about “attention-seeking”. It seems people really do want to be applauded for their “sacrifices”. Hilarious stuff…

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