That's for normal people. Allow me to tell you, Dear Reader, how my Shrove Tuesday went.
Mother Superior had decided that our first two weeks in the Barrio (read Mesa) had seen me engage in very little meaningful activity, save chasing off to the Verizon store to try to remediate our desperate lack of broadband (It is important to know the hour-by-hour temperatures back on the old home front. That way one can know precisely when to remark on the consistent mid-eighty degree temperatures in the Valley of the Sun.)
But I digress...Mother Superior had determined that she would work out a plan of sacrifice and pain for the old goat so as to improve him on both the physical and intellectual side. Hastily scanning through the 280 activities planned for the barrio residents for the week, she selected three activities deemed suitable. First there was "Learning to Play the Harmonica" at 9:00 AM followed by "Stained Glass for Beginners" at 10:00. That was to last three hours. But just in case something went awry, I was directed to "Core Balance" class at 11:00.
In any case I was anxious by the entire schedule because the "tiny little water pill" generally savages me for three hours post consumption. I could just imagine myself having to put up my hand: "Teacher, teacher, can you wait a minute before you begin that instruction on how to blow an F# on a "C" harmonica? I deign to be excused."
In spite of my trepidation, things seemed to fall into place nicely. When I got to harmonica class there was only one other person there, a woman who announced that there probably wouldn't be a lesson today because of the Mardi Gras parade which would soon make its way through the barrio. And then she left, leaving me looking at an empty room full of music stands.
Well, this is good, I mutter to myself, and make my way to Mother Superior's "back-up plan as directed. Reaching the stained glass laboratory, I wander in and a somber looking woman glances at me. I glance back at her and say, "Is this where the three-hour introduction to making stained glass is held?" "Yes," she replies. "What is your name?" I have to think a bit about that...ah, "Mike Morrissey," I say. "I don't see your name on the list anywhere," says she. "This class is full, as you can note for yourself that five people have signed up. There'll be another introductory class on the 27th." "Great," say I, skipping out the door.
There is bit of time before I am due at "Core Balance," the just-in-case-something-runs-amuck class so I ramble off in search of a donut, always an admirable pursuit.
At precisely 11:00, I burst through the door of the large activity room only to find what seems like 300 women and one other man ready to balance. I quickly procure a chair, a necessary part of this business for those of you who have never balanced your corpus.
In walks a twenty-something young woman whose body ripples in places previously unknown to me. She seems to look every person in the eye as she gives her instructions. When her smiling eyes lock on mine I read "What the hell is he doing in here?" I'm asking myself the same question. I hang on for an hour of this stuff and then stagger back toward the humble abode in which we live.
As I arrive, I am in search of something cold, and wet, like, say a beer. And I ask myself "Is my core balanced now?"
"Hey, I can't even balance my checkbook."
And that was my Fat Tuesday.