The reason Laura was e-mailing me [below] in the first place was to make plans for my birthday next week. She suggested getting friends together for Friday night Lenten fish-fry in Joe G.'s church's basement and then drinking at the nearby British Isles pub.
She thought that would cover all bases for people:
"If they can't see themselves at a church dinner, they probably can see themselves at a bar!"
It also appeals to those two fish swimming in opposite directions who represent Pisces.
This reminds me of my birthday two and a half months after my mother died, which fittingly fell on Ash Wednesday. (Some of you were there.)
I was working for the Church at that time, and I went to 7 a.m. Mass to receive an ash cross on my forehead ("remember you are dust and to dust you shall return"); then spent all day preparing a soup supper to be served that evening in the church basement.
Afterward, a few friends took me out to a chic Uptown bar. The bartender came over to our table, saw our smudges, and asked, "And what can I get you good Catholics?"
I drank vodka martinis with gorgonzola-stuffed olives to wash away my sins.
This remains one of my weirdest yet best birthdays. I have a fraught relationship with the Church, but I've got to say, she's great with death.