Mardi Gras

8 am classes are hazy things.  People doze on their arms in the back corners, others nod their heads onto their chests notsosubtly.  A few diligent scholars scribble notes, but most are embellished with margin illustrations.  If the professor hasn’t entered the classroom yet, there is some mild chatting, mostly concerning how many hours of sleep one got last night, and ohmygosh I feel horrible right now I shouldajustskipped.

And then the professor walks in wearing an elaborate Mardi Gras costume.

And suddenly, 8 am looks a whole lot brighter.

He strode in so nonchalantly, so everyday, that a few people didn’t even look up until their neighbors’ elbows got their attention.

He was wearing a purple tunic, long green satin pants, and an emerald cape.  Beaded necklaces clacked around his neck, and a brightly-feathered mask sat against his forehead (above his glasses).

“Mardi Gras,” my statistics professor announced, “Is my favorite holiday.  It’s the ultimate holiday, really.  Think about it; what do you want most in a holiday?  Good food, drinking, music, and public nudity.  It’s perfect.”

He went on to explain that he usually brings in a King Cake for students to try, but that his wife is ill with a flu thelikesofwhich the world has never seen, and that he and his son, judging the cake to be contaminated with said plague, ate it.

King Cake is a traditional Down South Mardi Gras dessert.  Tasting a little like a cinnamon roll, it’s filled with good things like cream cheese, nuts, and a small plastic baby that brings luck to whoever finds it in his/her slice.  That is, if he/she doesn’t choke to death on it first.

Speaking of cake (no, really; this is actually a good segue), I have officially decided to give up sweets for Lent.  Not Facebook, like two years ago.  Not chocolate, like last year.  Sweets.  Cake, cookies, candy, ice cream, pudding, all chocolate…Basically anything that gives me joy during late night cram sessions is now on the blacklist.  It’s going to be rough, folks.  I like my sweets.  But really, if I can’t survive forty days without them, then who’s to say I can survive other, similarly drastic, situations?  Shipwrecks, zombie apocalypses, statistics finals, etc.  I’ll be a goner if I can’t get over this hump first.

I am making one small exception, however; if my professor ever gets around to bringing in that King Cake (and he said he would), I’m going to try a piece.  I want a shot at that lucky, ugly plastic baby.


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