That Had to Be Awkward… February 7, 2008

That Had to Be Awkward…

Brent Rasmussen walked into a convenience store yesterday. When he was paying for his stuff, he noticed something odd about the clerk…

“Hey,” I gestured with a friendly smile, “you have a little smudge there on your forehead.” I snagged a Kleenex from the box thoughtfully provided for customers between the registers and handed it to him.

It was Ash Wednesday.

Somehow, Brent managed to play this off like it was no big deal.

Friendly? Maybe not.

Funny? Hell yes.

(via Cognitive Dissident)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Catholic[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • It sounds like something I would do – on purpose.

  • Maria

    heh heh.

  • LOL

    Actually, I didn’t grow up in a very Catholic area and had never heard of Ash Wednesday until I got to college. I remember the first time I even became aware of it was when I was waiting tables and noticed that a lot of my customers were coming in with smudges on their foreheads. It took me a while to figure out why.

  • Mriana

    Mike, Episcopalians and Lutherans celebrate Ash Wed. too. Not just Catholics.

    Incidently, they get the ashes, or at least the ones I know of, from the trees they burn after Epiphany. They keep the tree up from Advent to sometime during or after Epiphany, then burn it and save the ashes for Ash Wed. So they are wearing dead burnt trees. I’ve always wondered how that affected one’s complexion. Haven’t heard of it causing zits, but all that carbon and alike has to be hard on it. 😆

    Although, if you want to wear a big sign on your forehead that says, “I’m a Christian” that would do it. 😆

    Of course, it’s a great reminder too of what happens to you after you die: Remember you are dust and dust you shall return. I’m sure the plants love you. 😆

    Oh sorry. I just could not resist. I tried to hold back, but I thought of those BEFORE I became a non-theist and thought they were funny then. Yeah, guess I made a horrible Episcopalian. The priests loved my of handed remarks though. 😀 Tells you something about the priest. Of course there was one time, the priest (a woman) was looking for her “penquin”. I said, “Mother Kathy, did you lose your penquin?” And coming down the stairs, as I said it, was the nun! She heard me! 😳 I was embarrassed, but we all three ended up laughing. 😆 It was all good. No, no Hail Marys or Our Fathers, just a wonderful laugh. 😀

    Oh such good times of irreverent humour and directly to the clergy! 😀 I miss that. I got away with so much disrespect of religion IN the church. Of course, I only dis it in the presence of the clergy. I was SOOOO bad! 😀

    That’s not including my rants about religion in their offices. Ironically, not once did they chide me for it. Interesting. Like I said, I was a terrible heathenistic Episcopalian. Guess it’s no surprise I became a non-theist, esp with an audience like that.

  • Ash Wednesday aka “you’ve got some shit on your forehead day”.

  • For those not familiar with this strange custom, the following is right from wikipedia entry for “ash Wednesday”

    At Masses and services of worship on this day, ashes are imposed on the foreheads (or tonsure spots, in the case of some clergy) of the faithful. The priest, minister, or in some cases officiating layperson marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross, which the worshiper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown. The act echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one’s head to signify repentance before God (as related in the Bible). The priest or minister says one of the following when applying the ashes:

    Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. (Latin: Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.)
    —Genesis 3:19

    Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
    —Mark 1:15

    Repent, and hear the good news.
    —Mark 1:15

  • Soop

    Why Wednesday though?

    I live in Wisconsin and we got a huge dump of snow that day. All schools were closed and many businesses too. On the way to work, I was listening to all of these cancellations and they had a whole section on Ash Wednesday ceremonies that were closed.

    I had to laugh out loud when one resilient church said that Ash Wednesday procedures were postponed til Thursday 😀

  • ROFL – Which Mel Brooks film was that in? “You’ve got a little schmutz on your forehead!”

  • Mriana

    Soop, it’s based on the Spring equinox. Easter was once a pagan holiday incorporated by the Church and never has had a set date. It continues to be based on the celestrial movements of the sun, thus why there is no set date. Ash Wed. is a little more than 6 weeks (40 days) prior and kicks off Lent.

  • Vincent

    Remember Penn Gilett’s Chiquita Banana Wednesday? Wear a banana sticker on your head instead.

  • Spurs Fan

    As much as we might find this practice odd, perhaps we should find a bit more respect in our hearts. I’ll join any and all criticism of the government or religious people who try to impose their belief system on me. But in this example, there was a clear mix-up that could have been easily handled with an apology.

    I know this isn’t very Sam Harris of me, but I’m imagining a world in which a person of faith makes as assumption about me (compare not bowing my head at an extended meal to having a smudge on the forehead), finds out I’m an atheist, and then, instead of ridiculing or making fun of me, respectfully apologizing. “I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know you were an atheist. I don’t agree with you, but I can now see why you didn’t pray”.


  • atheos

    Spurs Fan, I agree in theory. However, it’s one thing to laugh in someone’s face – which we are not necessarily advocating – and quite another to laugh at and mock supersitious beliefs.

  • Mriana

    I also know they sometimes laugh at their own superstitious beliefs and practices too. At least those who don’t really take it seriously.

  • Steven Carr

    What I like about Christianity is the way it got rid of the empty ritualism of Judaism, and replaced it with putting oil and ash on your head.

    If you were the Saviour of the World, come down to Earth with a message for all humanity, you too would use the opportunity of the Sermon on the Mount to tell people to put oil on their head, because some hypocrites hypocritically refuse to put oil on their heads.

  • Mriana

    If you were the Saviour of the World, come down to Earth with a message for all humanity, you too would use the opportunity of the Sermon on the Mount to tell people to put oil on their head, because some hypocrites hypocritically refuse to put oil on their heads.

    The oil could be good for one’s hair, esp if they have dry, damaged hair. Can’t hurt it.

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