Ass Wednesday

ashwednesdayBefore anyone get offended, let me say right off that the only ass here is me.

A co-worker came into work after her lunch hour today with a gray spot on her forehead, and even after someone else asked her what she’s giving up for Lent I still thought I was doing her a favor when I said “Sweetie, you have a little shmutz on your face.”

Could I be any more of a shmendrick? And I really have no excuse because it’s not the first time I’ve made that mistake. In high school, a classmate rode me up and down because I spit into a Kleenex and told her to wipe her head off in biology class. A pastor’s daughter, she gave me a short, tight-lipped education on the origins of Ash Wednesday and its significance: The smudged cross is received as an act of repentance to God observed forty days counting down to Easter, when a big bunny comes and licks it off.

Oh my heavens – did I just write that? I am the world’s biggest shmendrick! I’m so sorry, but that girl was just so mean and self-righteous even after I apologized and offered to let her copy my pig dissection notes!

Fortunately, my coworker was hilariously self-deprecating and cool about my faux pas and promised to not to make fun of me anymore for skipping the bbq sandwich in the cafeteria. I mean, it’s not like rubbing a little dirt on one’s head is that weird – especially considering some of our more observant brothers and sisters do swing live chickens every year.

11 thoughts on “Ass Wednesday

  1. It’s more like waving the chicken in a circular manner over someone’s head. They do it at Rambam sometimes before Yom Kippur. I suppose if the chicken starts getting dizzy and tries to get away it might get swung around.

    I can’t imagine the pain a scratch by a chicken’s claw might cause, but I’d swing the chicken to avoid it.

    I think I might rather have a bunny lick my head.

  2. Y’all crack me up.

    And you’re right, Red (in more ways than one): You can’t swing a chicken in this town without someone who’s witnessed me making an ass outta meself….

  3. Irreverence aside, you are lookin good in those jeans baby! For me it is Nice Ass Wednesday.

    And as for the chicken swingin, That’s just wrong. Even in Georgia. Can’t we just swing some lox, chickens have creepy germs.

    What would you give up for lint?
    I think fingernail biting and cussing. Can you give up doing laundry and dishes?

  4. In more modern Orthodox tradition, you can wave money instead of a live chicken to fulfill the ritual. Personally I think that brings up perceptions about Jews to outsiders that would be worse than live chickens.
    G-d forbid PETA learns of any of this.

  5. I have no comments other than saying that my co worker just came into my office to see why I was laughing out loud. You have another Yo Yenta fan now…

  6. A Catholic friend and I had a ritual every Ash Wednesday; he would go to the early mass and then come into work and, every year, the first thing I said to him was, “Hey, Leroy, you got some sh*t on your forehead.”
    Not so much a faux pas as it was me being an ass. I actually think he liked me saying something about it more than if I had ignored the fact that he had a blatantly obvious smudge on his forehead. Maybe it made him feel more Catholic. I mean, he chose to go to the early mass and wear the ashes all day for a reason.
    And Leroy deserved a little razzing for wearing hotpants to the company picnic every year.

  7. Me too – almost. So there I was, sidling outta WalMart, in the parking lot, in the dark, and there she was, with schmutz on her forhead. I almost let loose, and how she avoided my stare, until my vacuum tube brain managed to warm up sufficiently for me to realize that it was Wednesday and that that was no schmutz above her face.

    And talk about big bunnies, do you think Elwood P. Dowd and Harvey will make an appearance this Easter?

  8. LOL. If you do a search for “ass Wednesday,” you might regret using it for your heading. I was caught quite off guard by some of the definitions!

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