Fat Tuesday


Fat Tuesday,
an odd descriptor for a man closer to 300 pounds than 200,
the Tuesday before–
     before sorrow,
     before sobriety,
     before repentance,
     before reflection.
On Tuesday, all is right with the world
     (so we think),
     Carnival,
     Mardi Gras,
     and the revelry that comes with them.
But with the changing of the hour at midnight,
     from the Tuesday of fat
     to the Wednesday of Ashes
     a change comes,
     something happens,
     and the party is over…
          for a while at least.
I wonder if the partiers in Jerusalem
     heading up the hill into the city
     understood what was to come.
Did they know that the carnival was about to turn into
     something much darker,
     deeply aware of sin and human frailty?
Did they have any inkling of the darkness to come?
Or were they like the partiers in New Orleans tonight,
     full of vim and vigor
     with only the vaguest of notions
     about what is being celebrated,
     and what is being anticipated.
So go on,
     party on dudes,
     for the day of the Lord is at hand,
     and for a season
     your dancing shall be turned into mourning,
     with your joy leading to repentance.
The day of the Lord is at hand,
     so rend not your garments, but rather your hearts.
Then, and only then, will you know the true meaning of joy,
    and may the true party atmosphere rule supreme.

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