Taking a Break from Andrew image

Taking a Break from Andrew

Being a Protestant, and having no vices, Lent passes me by each year without much notice. Andrew (despite all my efforts) being a more suspect fellow, is once again entering his self-imposed exile from THINK until Easter – though not, I believe, from his various TV appearances. With Hosier erratic, at best, and Pollock practically non-existent, that means it will once again fall upon my slender shoulders to bear the weight of THINK over the next six weeks.

Living in constant virtue renders the self-denying sacrifices made by others at this time of year irrelevant to me. Better, by far, to live with steely discipline all year round than to spend a few weeks each spring attempting to mortify the flesh. There seems to be an assumption that forty days of abstinence then provides licence for over 300 days of indulgence. A temporary decision to not handle chocolate, to not taste coffee, to not write blogs, may have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

My recipe for a virtuous life is quality, not quantity. Don’t abstain from coffee over Lent, but drink only Kopi Luwak. Don’t forego chocolate, just make sure it’s Lindt, 70% cacao. Don’t stop drinking alcohol, but settle for nothing less than a serious claret. And don’t stop reading blogs, so long as they are of the quality of mine.

Of course, if like Andrew you normally subsist on a diet of instant coffee, Dairy Milk, Australian plonk and constant internet trivia, then a Lenten purge might be just what you need. Though you are weak of faith, you are still welcome here. And when your system is clear, perhaps you will enter on my enlightened path, so that next year Lent can pass you by, too.

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