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February 22nd, 2012
09:25 PM ET

Letters to the President #1129: 'And now...lent'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president with the fervor of a monk. He refrains from responding with equal dedication.

Dear Mr. President,

Since I wished you a Happy Mardi Gras yesterday, I suppose it is only appropriate that I welcome you to the season of Lent today. Not sure how much you get into it, and frankly I’m not certain how much I get into it either. Usually I try to give something up for a while, but sometimes I’m just not sure what to do. Sure, I could give up something big like…oh say, junk food…but I’m pretty sure I would fail at that. On the other hand, giving up something like scallions just seems silly. I mean, what would that mean; skipping one entrée at a favorite restaurant? Hardly seems like a sacrifice.

A friend made a great suggestion some years ago. He said, “Instead of giving something up, why not commit yourself to doing something good?” He didn’t mean good as in “going to more hockey games because that is a good time,” but rather, he meant “do something good that might help someone else.”

It really is an interesting idea and seems quite in keeping with the religious themes of the season. After all, if I cut out watching television for the season, what difference does that really make? I will agree in a heartbeat that it is always good to promote self-discipline, and self-denial is a pretty good way to do that. But a few less episodes of The Big Bang Theory are not really going to make me a better person. (On the other hand, I think a few more episodes might accomplish that…have you seen this show? Really great fun.)

Anyway, I have not decided what I might do that would be good for others, but I am giving it serious thought. I’ll let you know if I come up with something.

Hope all is well with you and the family. Call if you can. Great run down by the river this morning. It’s like spring out there!

Regards,

Tom

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