Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Ash Wednesday


Alternative title: Further proof that I am an idiot.

Setting: Jefferson Hall cafeteria, Ash Wednesday 1991, with my peeps from the 4th floor. We all sit down with our trays of food.

Me: Um, Lisa? You have some schmutz on your forehead.

Lisa: Silence waiting for me to laugh at my own joke.

Jen (who happens to be Jewish): You moron. It’s Ash Wednesday.

Me: Wha?

Once Lisa stopped laughing she explained it to me. 18 years later I still feel like an idiot and laugh at myself every Ash Wednesday. Hi Lisa, where ever you are!

ashweds I’m obviously not Catholic but I did grow up going to church. I even went to confirmation camp for a week so that I could bond with my confirmation class and memorize all of the relevant stuff I needed to know to be confirmed as a member of the church. But we United Church of Christ goers are apparently pretty liberal and far left from the Catholics because I had made it 19 years never hearing of having ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday. Even my Jewish pal knew about it. Yep, I do my momma proud.

posted under humor
13 Comments to

“Ash Wednesday”

  1. On February 25th, 2009 at 1:29 pm Hanlie Says:

    I grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church (very Calvinistic) and have only just learned (through the blogosphere) what Lent actually is and that today is Ash Wednesday. Of course I’d heard the terms before, but I didn’t know anything about them. And I’ve never seen anyone with a smudge, not even in cosmopolitan Cape Town!

    So don’t feel bad!

  2. On February 25th, 2009 at 1:30 pm Laura Says:

    You have this Catholic girl laughing. You ARE funny.

  3. On February 25th, 2009 at 2:40 pm elle Says:

    I grew up in a very conservative Christian church. We rarely (if ever) took communion, there was no such thing as confirmation and we did full immersion baptism. I ran from that type of church when I was in highschool and it wasn’t until then that I learned what Good Friday was all about. And even now… being a confirmed Lutheran, married to a guy who works for a Lutheran company and even working for a Lutheran church myself, I have no clue why they call it Good Friday. What the heck is good about a guy being crucified? So don’t feel bad about not knowing about Ash Wednesday.

  4. On February 25th, 2009 at 2:56 pm Kim Says:

    Wait a sec….you grew up UCC??? So did I!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Although we did do the whole Ash Wednesday thing. I’m now a member of a Methodist church and we have our Ash Wednesday service tonight. In fact, I’m carrying around the ashes in my purse as I had to go buy them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. On February 25th, 2009 at 6:14 pm Vanessa Says:


  6. On February 25th, 2009 at 7:23 pm Jen Says:

    Michelle. I never knew you were UCC. Me too. Still am. I didn’t know about the ashes until I went to college either. In fact they still seem to surprise me every year. I almost wiped some from the forehead of a guy I played volleyball with tonight.

  7. On February 25th, 2009 at 8:02 pm Jody W. Says:

    I wouldn’t have known, either. Don’t sweat it! (Because if you sweat it might clean off the ash.)

  8. On February 25th, 2009 at 8:43 pm Yary Says:

    LMAO! I saw some guy at walgreens with “black stuff” on his forehead and it took me about a whole 10 minutes to even think of ash wednesday. I blame it on sleep deprivation because I did grow up being catholic my whole life.

  9. On February 26th, 2009 at 6:41 am Rhonda Says:

    Never heard of that either!

  10. On February 26th, 2009 at 11:55 am Lena Says:

    Thanks for your comment on my BD post! Let me know how the baking soda/vinegar mixture works for you.

    That is a funny story about the ashes. I was raised Catholic and as a pre-teen/teen I can tell you that I was always embarrassed on Ash Wed. to walk around with ashes on my forehead, I always tried to cover them up with my bangs…

  11. On February 26th, 2009 at 11:58 am Ale Says:

    hmm…you and my husband could talk…he thought that the ash cross was some sort of gang “mark” and warned friends about associating with “marked” people. The story is family lore already (we’re leftie Catholics, but Catholics nonetheless…)

  12. On February 26th, 2009 at 3:39 pm Alleen Says:

    I grew up Baptist and had no clue about these things. We now belong to UCC and still have yet to go to an Ash Wednesday service after almost 15 years there.

  13. On February 28th, 2009 at 9:31 pm kim/hormone-colored days Says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Love your tag line up above.

    I am Jewish and learned about Ash Wednesday after making a similar comment about a smudge on my art teacher’s forehead back in junior high. I’ve since gone on to make many boneheaded and socially inappropriate remarks on a wide range of topics. But never made that Ash Wednesday mistake again, so at least I learned that one.

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment: