At Heaven's Gate


Yesterday morning, I woke up at the cusp of getting into Heaven’s Gate.

Although it was only a dream, it was likewise a stark spotlight on reality.

Amongst the clouds, I found myself standing before the gatekeeper of all gatekeepers, who said onto me:

“You screwed up.”

Squinting at St. Peter, I asked, “Me? What? How? Why?”

Wryly he replied, “You gave up alcohol for Lent…”

For you heathens who are unaware, allow me to enlighten you. Lent is essentially a European holiday from your favorite vices.

And when I say “European” I mean the way the Romans…and the Parisians, and the Berliners do it - long-ass “holidays” unlike most Americans will ever know.

Hence, Lent is a 40-day walk in the woods, one modeled after Christ’s own forty-day and forty-night fast in the desert, whereby he tested his resilience against temptation.

It always begins on Ash Wednesday, which is always after Fat Tuesday, which serves as the royal purge before you do something crazy like - give up drinking.

Thus, and then, do crazy Catholics give up something for forty days leading up to “Thank God it’s Good Friday” on through “Holy Saturday, Batman! We’ve only got one damned day left until it’s all over…”

The truly faithful do it as an expression of their faith and Tradition!, whereas not-so-serious believers like me just use it as an excuse to lose weight, detox or test their stamina against one or more of those delectable temptations that often make life worth living.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but vices can be just as healthy as virtues if done in moderation. A drink, a joint and-or indulging in a warm and dreamy chocolate lava cake, all-to-yourself - can be extremely satisfying and a relatively harmless means of much needed stress release and redeeming satisfaction.

That all said, as the Saint of all Executive Secretaries asked me, “What are you going to do now to unwind, wind down and stem the deluge of cortisol coursing through your veins by the end of each and every day?”

“Great question,” I said, as all good public speakers are taught to say, regardless of what they really think about the question or the person who asked it.

Granted, I really do appreciate the value of challenges, especially when it comes to those that improve ones health, enlighten or illuminate, and “build character.”

Moreover, I’m quite conscious of how bad alcohol consumption might be for me in particular, because when I do drink, its usually right before dinner and immediately after a day of fasting, since dinner is primarily the only meal I have eaten each day for the last two years.

Although it’s usually only a skinny glass of wine or a short cocktail (i.e., in a lowball) to ease me through dinner prep, since I haven’t eaten for most of the day, I understand that it’s likely far more toxic for me personally, than for others who have had two square meals to absorb and dilute the toxic pollution. And as I have recently observed with the deterioration of a close relative - liver dysfunction is no joke.

So, here I am - drinking a lot more water and coffee and tea than usual, futilely trying to fill in the absence of my usual liquid diet

Only 36 more days or 864 more hours, a mere 51,840 minutes, left.

If anything, I think the roughest part of this sober-binge is the dreadful notion that we are returning to normalcy by “returning to the office.” For we all know that a party without alcohol is simply another office meeting. Which is why you must ask yourself, “Now, how fun can a sober day full of meetings be?”