April 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 98  

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Cheap, fast, easy

By Mel Wong
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
DON’T GIVE UP MCDONALD’S FOR LENT! Clearly, Jesus would admire the ways of the overtly religious Ronald McDonald. Who else would spend so much spare time interacting with the elderly?

This week’s edition of All You Can Eat should really be called “All You Can Not Eat.”

With the end of Lent just around the corner, it’s high time for me to reflect on the past 40 days (and 40 nights) of abstinence from fast food, junk food, candy and pop.

If you are what you eat, then before Lent, I was cheap, fast and easy. My former diet was not healthy. But if you’re judging based purely on taste, nothing beats a daily intake of McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza, Smarties and Coke. However, I was initially reluctant to give up what I found to be a highly satisfying lifestyle, and solicited my friends for alternative sacrifices to make.

“Give up Jesus,” suggested one not-so-supportive friend.

“Dude... ” I grimaced. I didn’t think God would be supportive of giving Him up for Lent.

“Give up music!” offered another.

“DUDE!!!” I wailed in response.

Clearly, I needed to get my priorities in order. So, with no better option available, I began my 40 day journey into the land of salad, sandwiches and orange juice. It was so wholesome, I felt like I was in a rerun of 7th Heaven.

Every time I passed by my favourite fast food venues, the sweet smells of grease, oil and lard awakened me. I was filled with memories of the joy of sinking my teeth into the processed meat of a Quarter Pounder, of sipping from a can of Coke to feel the sugar slowly rot my teeth and of knowing I would die young from high cholesterol.

Worse yet was the difficulty of abstaining from unhealthy foods while living in residence. The Delaware Hall cafeteria has this wonderful tendency of serving all my favourite foods on one day, and unidentifiable brown lumps the next. It wasn’t so painful on those days when I had to decide between butter chicken, lasagna and fettucini Alfredo. But when I had to decide between an unappetizing brown slab of meat and a soggy green vegetable (eww, vegetables), I yearned for my days of fast food.

Undoubtedly, the most painstaking part of the experience were those gruesome all-nighters without my trusty can of Coke. How convenient that the church would place our 40 days of sacrifice during some of the most stressful months of the school year.

Do they not understand students need their caffeine in order to write essays and make the grade? Or maybe it’s all part of their strategy. Without a good caffeine buzz to keep me working in those wee hours of the night, I found myself praying to God a lot more: “Please, God. Help me to stay up so I can finish my essay and pass this course.”

Yes, Lent has definitely served its purpose in strengthening my relationship with God. But am I ever glad it only comes once a year.



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