Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fast This? Fast You!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

My ancestors were either 1) dilusional or 2) told by the "big guy" himself or 3) just decided that it would be a fun way to spend the day; by fasting from sundown to sundown on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

Why fasting and not flogging like some Muslims partake in during The Day of 'Ashura?  I'd even think about some ashes like the Catholics on that Spring Wednesday. Fasting is way tougher and I want to take this moment to run down the different phases so that you the reader can adequetly judge where you are in the process without looking at your watch.

Stage 1: Pre Sun Down Meal
It has become a sort of tradition that my friends and I gather at a local factory that produces, oh say, cheesecake, to consume mass quantities of food prior to the fast beginning. I'm not clear why we continue to abuse our stomachs and digestive tracks this way but who am I to mess with "tradition". A typical meal consists of shared appetizers and breads, a main course, and of course, the cheesecake dessert. While I don't have an accurate calorie count, my best guess says 5,000+. Not exactly the kind of thing Bob or Jillian would like to see but we do it for the cause (and to make sure we hit that "sin of gluttony" line in the prayerbook)  By the end of this stuff-fest we are all belly-aching and I for one have enough gas building up to power my car for a few weeks unleaded-free.

Stage 2: Sundown to Bed
I'm still very full and feeling plenty sick. My GI track is starting to back up something fierce and I'm thinking of breaking the fast very early by reaching for the Tums. Chasing a 21 month old around a room to get him to quiet down isn't helping things. I'd also really like some more water to wash down the reminents of the oreo cheesecake stuck in my teeth

Stage 3: Partially Restless Night
Do you ever get that feeling that you need to take some water in the middle of the night? The toothpaste you used before hitting the sack is still on your tongue, and the scratchy cough could easily be soothed with just a few sips. No luck...force yourself back to bed several times and hope the dog doesn't decide now would be a good time to share the taste of her ass with your lips.

Stage 4: The Next Morning
By now you'd kill for some water but toothpaste will have to do. Can I drink this stuff? Probably not a good idea. The fullness from the night before has come and gone and now you're trying to fight your normal routine of filling up the coffee pot and breaking out the cereal. You are still in your right mind though and not yet getting faint or dizzy. Time to take the dog and the kid on an early morning walk to kills some time. OK, back. It was a bit warmer out there then I planned on. No water yet, time to get to services.

Stage 5: Midday
I've made it through the bulk of the morning service. It's nice when all those people can lend their body heat (and some their body odor) to help me get just drowsy enough during the upcoming sermon that I'll pass out for about a 20 min snoozer. At least I listened to the Rabbi last night and didn't wear leather shoes today. Just my Vibram 5-Fingers...the official sneaker of partially observant only part of the time jews everywhere. (I think that should be their next marketing slogan!) Starting to get a little light headed and could definitely go for some water or a beer.

Stage 6: Afternoon
Now you're getting woozy. You're home from services and even after driving the extra long way home you still have almost 4 hours to go before you can even think of breaking fast. This is crunch time in my book. It's where we separate the quitters from the fasters (of something like that). Time to read a cookbook so if I can't have food I can at least plan future adventures. I pick up a great birthday present in the Siracha Cookbook and delve into plans for siracha salt and cheddar siracha swirl bread. All this reading is making me dizzy and sleep finally sets in. After another vivid dream (this time Justin Maxwell is making an amazing catch in center field.)

Stage 7: Just Minutes Till Sunset
Dizzy, Grumpy, Thirsty, as well as the rest of the dwarfs are setting in now and the worst part is I'm at my parent's apartment just looking at the tables of bagels, fish spreads, cheese, vegetables, fruit, cookies, pastries, juice, coffee, etc. If it were up to me, the hell with my friends showing up, I'm going on a shovel fest. But we all know that wouldn't be right, it will be just a few more minutes. Just a few more minutes. Just a few more minutes...ok you're all here why aren't we eating yet?

Stage 8: The Final Frontier
As we nosh on bagels, whitefish, cheese, juice, and desserts I start to feel a little closer to normal (that's MY normal, not yours). But it gets me thinking, back in biblical times my people fasted. But at "services" they didn't use prayer books and have afternoon naps. Nope...they sacraficed animals over an open flame. They were essentially making barbeque during prayer. So here you are fasting for 24+ hours and the whole time the priest at the front of the room is roasting up some goat or ram or sheep. It's a good thing that Salt Lick wasn't around back then. I would have had run up with a few bottles and brushes and gone to town.

For my friends/readers/web-based strangers who observe, may your fast have been an easy one and next year at the BBQ joint!

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