10. Schadenfreude: That warm, grim feeling of satisfaction you get from watching planes crash, stocks plummet and presidential candidates debate. Best to dampen this enthusiasm in preparation for a Holy Easter.
9. Foxhunting: Bloodsports are generally discouraged in the 40 days before Our Lord shed His.
8. Discussing the “spiritual problems” of a friend with everyone you know, “so they’ll remember to pray for him.”
7. Writing single-spaced letters of complaint to: a) The local bishop, b) The Vatican, or c) The Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.
6. Forwarding emails of the following types:
- Jokes that make people groan audibly at their workstations—especially any and all puns
- Chain letters disguised as lucrative “marketing tests” from Microsoft or St. Jude Novenas
- News of epidemic diseases that are being “covered up by the Feds”
- Recent, unapproved Marian apparitions that warn of “U.N. one-world government”
- Memoirs of alien abductions (especially if true)
- Last requests from terminally-ill kids that entail forwarding an email to all your friends. (Remember, the dying children can wait until the Resurrection!)
- Nigerian-based financial scams.
5. Hand-rolled cigars or French cigarettes (smoking the cheap ones is a penance).
4. Visiting churches with appalling liturgies, just to count the abuses (see Schadenfreude, above).
3. Lingerie shopping and gun shows.
2. Lurid daydreams—romantic or violent—about your boss.
1. Conspiracy Theories (except those involving the Masons—these are always acceptable for Catholics).