I’m not your exemplary Catholic; but one who’s conscience bothers me whenever I feel I should attend Mass…like today, Palm Sunday.

Just some observations.

First, how do some people manage to make the nice cross out of palm, when I can’t even manage to fold the two pieces that they gave me.

Do you use a little bitty strand of palm to hold the cross together? And how do you get it so neat…like it was professionally made?

During mass, I looked over at some of the nice crosses some had already made; and thought to myself, “…why can’t I do that?” Do I have all thumbs?

As I fumbled with the palm, stripping slivers away like I was shucking corn, the woman standing next to me smiled; like she knew my dilemma…and she knew I wasn’t’ going to give up until I got it right.

Right after my OCD kicked in, I realized that after about 15 minutes, I decided to fold it and put the strands of palm in my pocket.

And this is despite the fact it was jabbing me the whole time in the side, like I was getting stabbed!

So much for that.

Another thing.

Its great seeing families attend Mass together; but I wonder.

Did all the boys get the memo about wearing their hair the same way?

I know this has been around since the turn of the millennium, but when did the Q-tip hairstyle with the shaved sides and the pointy top become the look?

And it’s not just the kids…but the fathers too!

That and the Abercrombie sweat were the order of the day.

Third, I got there just in time for Mass to start; and had no expectation of getting a seat.

None whatsoever!

And had I gotten a seat, I would have gladly given it to someone more in need of it than me.

I told myself that I’m a personal trainer, and should be able to stand for an hour.

Besides, it’s good penance.

(Something we did back at Nazareth HS in Brooklyn was to go away on a religious retreat called an “Encounter”, or “cursillo” in Spanish. The retreat was at a place about a block away from the BQE in Greenpoint called St. Paul’s Cursillo House…a very intense 3 days of praying and coming to grips with whatever demons plagued you.

There were dudes there with serious problem…guys who were on the verge of criminality; drug problems; abuse; you name it.

And one thing they had you do was a practice called the “palanca”, or lever. It was a way of praying for something where you were showing God you meant business by either kneeling on gravel and saying the rosary; or standing with arms extended outward as though on a cross, and again saying the rosary. God had to have heard you then!)

So while at Mass, and while I stood there, I kept saying to myself, “…c’mon you’re a trainer; and besides, think of this as a “palanca”."

Makes me feel better for standing, and looking over the rest of the parishioners who, when they kneel, need to rest their behinds on the edge of the pew.


Finally, time to leave, and watch how everyone bolts for the exit after the priest gives the blessing.

Not even to wait another 3 minutes till they sing the final hymn.

Where the hell are you going in such a rush anyway?

The parking lot is gonna be jammed, and if you’re going to Pastosa to buy ravioli, there’s gonna be a mob there too. (Oh, excuse me, I forgot, you’re going out to eat today!)

Just wondering if your mind wanders in each and every direction like mine (what’s left of it) does.

And if you are celebrating the holidays, Passover this coming Friday; and Easter this coming Sunday…hopefully you will be enjoying the real lottery winnings in life…health and family!

Have a happy holiday!