My Ash Wednesday Mistake


I’m Jewish. I grew up in a Jewish town, went to a Jewish private school and then ended up at University of Michigan… in a Jewish sorority.

Needless to say, I have been surrounded by Jewish people for most of my life. And totally sheltered from many other cultures and traditions.Don’t get me wrong – I know and am very close with many non-Jewish people, but none that are particularly observant or religious.

Why do I tell you all of this? To give you a little background leading up to one very awkward moment.

Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Ash Wednesday always fall right around midterms. As much as I’d love to partake in all the festivities, I barely have enough time to check the date let alone indulge in donuts and Hurricanes. Last year I was particularly stressed out over a giant presentation that I needed to give. The thing was massive, required visual aids and counted for 50% of my grade!

While my friends were out flashing guys for beads on Tuesday night, I was slaving over Power Point and Excel spreadsheets. I stayed up all night chugging coffee, eating candy and pulling random sh*t out of my ass just to fill up the 10 page paper that was to accompany my presentation.

I finally finished at 9am and ran to the nearest Kinkos to get everything printed and looking pretty.

When I approached the desk to get some help, I noticed the cashier had some ink on her forehead. Being that I was in a printing shop I figured she had just changed the ink in one of the copy machines and got a little on her. I wanted to tell her, but I also wanted to keel over and die from exhaustion, so I figured I’d let someone else do it.

I went about my business of printing and gluing, keeping an eye out for the ink lady. More people came into the store and spoke to her and no one told her how ridiculous she looked! I was appalled. That time I had spinach in my front teeth for hours and no one told me was embarassing; I’d want to know!

When I finally finished my work – and the lady still had the smudge on her forehead – I decided it was time to say something. I went up to the woman, leaned in and said, “No one else has the balls to tell you, but you have a little ink on your forehead that you may want to wipe off.”

She gave me the stink-eye.

“Thank you, but I know there is something on my forehead. It’s Ash Wednesday.”

Everyone in the store turned to look at me in disgust.

I grabbed my project, paid my bill and ran out.

So, this is my reminder to you: today is Ash Wednesday. Keep that in mind as you go about your business.

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