Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Meat Police - encore

I first wrote this blog entry during Lent of 2007, when I was assigned at another parish. But, this past Friday, as I stopped in a local pizzeria for some meat-free lunch, the same situation happened once again as it did four years ago:

Priests wear many hats in their daily work. Yes, supernaturally we're "other Christ's", and "co-workers of the Bishops." But naturally, if you will, at times we wear the hat of an office manager, a teacher, a decorator, a floral designer, a carpenter, and quite often a janitor.

And today I realized we have another title that only comes out this time of year.

So there I was, walking into my local pizzeria, ready to get myself some lunch, when I realized that people are looking over at me. Then, suddenly, it's a little quieter than it was when I first walked in. People started contorting, twisting as if they were protecting whatever it was on their tables.

That's when it hit me. It's a Friday of Lent, officially a meatless day, it's lunch time, and I've become the freakin' Meat Police!

All the Catholics in the place are treating me like this is a roadside drunk-driver checkpoint, and I've got a flashlight pointed at their plates. "Hmmmm, is that a BLT I see?" "Did you seriously think a turkey burger doesn't count as meat?" I'm like those Gestapo agents in Hogan's Heroes who only seem to say, "Your papers, please."

To be honest, I really don't care what they were eating. But it was kind of fun watching the Catholics in the pizza shop show me how incredibly bad they'd be at playing poker. The part of their brains that houses "Catholic guilt" works faster than the part of their brains that tells muscles not to make sudden movements in a vain attempt to hide the hoagie.

Your faces gave you away, but I'll let you off with a warning this time.

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