Lent started on February 10th and runs until March 24th. For the religious observance, in the spirit of penance, atonement and self-denial, Christians all over the world are giving up things for six weeks that many consider unhealthy, overindulgent, or just plain distracting from the true graces of life.
The most popular items of temporary forfeiture in Canada are alcohol, foods and sweets, sex, and social media. Yes, I said, sex. No, I can’t imagine why.
Obviously, we can all do better. Christian or not, there are plenty of damaging habits to which many of us have become accustomed – damaging to not only to ourselves, but to all those around us. For the sake of progress and prosperity, a number of additional items should be given the hoof for much longer than six weeks. More like, forever.
Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling…
1. Calling Yourself a “DJ”
Oh, you’re good at making playlists and using software to automatically match song tempos? Great – you’re Spotify with poofy headphones and a collection of “dongles.” Being an Instagram whiz doesn’t make someone a “photographer,” so let’s just make a deal and chill with the marquee terminology; next time I use a salad-spinner, I won’t call myself a chef, and next time you “mix” two songs with a hotkey, you won’t call yourself a DJ.
2. Overreacting to Tacos
Did you just roll your eyes back in your head, slouch your back and act like someone put Vicks VapoRub on your genitals? You know it’s, like, three things in a tortilla wrap, and one of those things is cabbage, right?
3. Taking Selfies
Stop it. You have a problem.
4. Calling Snow, “Pow”
Broooooo, I brotally get it, brooooooo. There’s nothing more rad than carving through pow before you crush some pints at the après with your– I can’t even finish this joke without barfing on my laptop. If you must, please just call it “powder” and don’t say it like you’re auditioning for Encino Man.
5. Shortening Any Words that Are Already Pretty Short
You know what, we can just stop the preposterous abbreviations altogether. “Totes,” “Obvs,” “Potensh,” “Perf” – they’ve all gotta go. Believe me, if Jesus was around, he’d say the same thing.
6. Talking to Dogs
You’re 30 years old and you’re not high – why are you asking that dog a question? Do you speak “Bark, Shit and Pant?” Listen, dogs are awesome. They’re emotionally fulfilling, beautiful creatures. They just can’t (/shouldn’t) drive you home when you’re wasted, and they can’t hold a conversation. Can’t we be OK with that? I promise you, they will never actually tell you that their feet are cold, nor will they answer, “Don’t be silly, why that’s Pongo of course” when you ask them, “Is that your friend?” at the park. Yes, trust me, they’re about to smell each other’s pee and then try to have sex in public – they’re friends.
7. Slut-Shaming Only Women
No, it’s not “just different with women.” It’s different because you’re making it different. Both women and men can be “slutty,” but more importantly, reminder: it’s none of your business. In lieu of slut-shaming anyone, I recommend getting a life.
8. Talking About the Weather
Interestingly enough, I did hear that it was “going to get colder next week.” I’m just trying to remember where I heard that though. Perhaps it was…hmm…ohhhhhhhhh, right, A BILLION TIMES A YEAR SINCE I WAS ONE MINUTE OLD. Don’t you have a jacket?? I’ll tell you what: you get five “it’s a beautiful day”s per year. The rest of the time, let’s just keep it to tsunami warnings and stuff Elon Musk is doing.
9. Being an A**hole in the Morning
How much more practice do you need at this? Is there anything else you’ve tried over five thousand times times and still suck at? Imagine if people starting walking around saying, “Uggghhhh, I am soooooo not an afternoon person?” Come on, you can do this. Tired happens, people wake up early sometimes, you’ll be fine. Stop pretending like you’re part of some cool gang. It’s not cool. It’s what hungry infants and hibernating bears do.
10. Breaking Plans Because They End Up Being Slightly Inconvenient
So… that’s, um, sort of exactly why plans were invented; so that when other alternatives do swoop in, or things get a smidge hectic – as they often can – there is a pre-arranged commitment in place. You know, predictability, accountability, selflessness? No? Ugh, never mind…
11. Texting and Driving
If I was driving you around and instead of looking at a phone I just started closing my eyes for about four seconds at a time, you’d probably freak out and ask me to let you out of the car. And you’d be right to do so. Texting is basically the same thing. If it’s extremely urgent, use a speaker phone or a Bluetooth connection (I’m pretty sure even Nissan Versas and rollerblades come with that now), or just put the witty hashtags on hold. Stop. This. Forever.
What is this, 1961? Come on. Just kill yourself with alcohol, sodium and radiation like a normal person in the 21st century.
13. Putting Your Bag on the Seat Next to You on Public Transportation
You got a seat – you’ve already won! Stop being such a d*ck about it. People belong in seats, bags belong on laps, and you belong under a glacier if you can’t piece that all together before the next stop.
14. “Dressing Up” to Go to the Gym
If you don’t look terrible by the time you leave anyway, you’re doing it wrong. It’s a universal understanding we have. On three occasions, everyone just expects you to look like a charred swamp-rat: when you have the Zika Virus, when you’re giving birth, and when you’re on the StairMaster. That goes for you too, $80 tank-top-and-a-tan guy.
15. Being Generally Unappreciative
Before you start to purge, start to appreciate. One part of the equation is “giving a thing up,” but a more important part of the equation is understanding the privilege in the things you’ve been taking for granted while overindulging in that thing you’re about to give up. Your friends, your sound mind, your residence in a safe country, your paycheque, whatever. Get better at appreciating the big things and you won’t have to worry so much about running from the little things.