Bent Lent

By DuncanRhys C. Liancourt


––Every year a dear friend practices her own secular version of Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday she denies herself for the forty days until Easter the mood regulating pleasures of wine and caffeine. One year she included chocolate in this fast, but that proved unhealthy––for those around her. As noted, she does not forego these cherished and accustomed imbibables to seek greater spirituality but for more sublunary and practical reasons. The first is merely physical, to allow her body to rid itself of these substances, a simple cleanse. The second, and main reason is psychological and emotional: she wants to make sure she still CAN stop using caffeine and alcohol.

Her reasoning seems logical on the surface, and I’ve always been supportive and found it quaint, but something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on––really, I never could be bothered to give other people’s bizarre theories much thought––continued to seem off. Recently, however, I had some time to kill while waiting for the descaler to work on my espresso machine, and in those five minutes of uncaffeinated reflection I discovered the error in my friend’s line of thought.

Her first reason, the physical cleanse, is wrong because it cannot be good for the body to take away something it is used to, temporarily, before forcing it to get used to that something all over again. This represents multiple shocks to the systems that no taker of the Hippocratic oath could possibly endorse. Her main reason, the psychological/emotional one is more obviously insupportable in at least two ways. Firstly, if one were clinically addicted to any of the gentle and natural compounds found in coffee and wine one should have already been in care and could gain no benefit from a temporary fast.

Secondly, and most crucially, one can have no need to know that one could give up something that one should never give up. To demonize two such natural substances that have been with mankind for uncounted centuries must be dishonorable or misguided. After all, Homo-whateverus was probably gnawing on coffee beans by the late Pliocene, and the Etruscans were certainly discussing the best vintages to pair with smoked eel while the Latin speaking tribes around Rome were poking at ant hills and bee hives with pointy sticks and wrestling foxes for the stringy parts left on goat legs by the wolves. My friend, being unfailingly honorable, must then be misguided. The only way to overcome the fevered pursuit of pleasure is to raise the fever until it breaks, so, before she invites me to join her unhealthy Lenten abstinence I will show her the error of her ways and invite her to join me in my more wholesome and beneficial Lenten indulgence.

At exactly 5:00 in the afternoon on Ash Wednesday we will each open two bottles of wine, a white and a red. During our more salubriously bent Lent there will be no choosing between white wine and red, rather we will have both every night. In this way, when we return to normal after Lent we will enjoy a reinvigorated appreciation for the distinctive characters of each. While we let the two bottles breath we will throw back a shot of the finest 100% agave reposado tequila. And should we have company then we need more bottles as we intend one white and one red per person, obviously.

Fridays will be observed with spirits in place of wine. I suggest extra dirty gin martinis after the champagne, but a slightly wetted good bourbon or rye will also work. Sundays, which are not counted in the 40 days of Lent, are for dessert wines, so I suggest only one Scotch or brandy following the aperitifs.  Remember, Bent Lent is not science but art. Do whatever feels most comfortable to rid yourself of creativity-stunting guilt or paranoid ideas that you NEED these advantageous fermentations. Your needs are not a deficiency––they are part of the sacred order of the universe.

Life is made of cycles: the moon waxes and wanes; the tides flow and ebb; espresso enhances your consciousness during the day and the juice of the ancient grape soothes it during the evening; nothing could be more natural or fitting. When Bent Lent is over you will return, after the traditional three-day resurrection from the Easter hangover, to your usual temperance knowing that your body, mind, and spirit were capable of riding out this solar flare of the universe’s natural cycles, and are once again in perfect harmony with all that is physical, intellectual, and spiritual.

One Response to “Bent Lent”
  1. Fabrizio says:

    I agree, I have simply found lent to never fit with well in the calendar, I mean 40 days of sanctioned sugar spiked crankiness from the nuns in grade school, I can assure you is what scars many for life…..
    …. But I Love the idea of an Easter Monday Hangover Hunt.

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