Think you know more or less what Lent is about? Nope, nuh-uh, wrong-o. You haven't plumbed the depths of contradictary human behavior until you've spent several years observing Lent as only a Catholic can do. 

Luckily, I've been doing it for nearly forty years, so I can help you save some time. Here are a few questions you might have about Lent and Catholics, all answered as well as they possibly can be. 
 

Q. People were being really weird about the ashes. Some people told me I would be sinning if I washed them off before midnight, and then my mother-in-law said it would be a sin of vanity to check in the mirror to see if they look as goofy as my husband's, and then my sister said that if I really wanted to be part of the New Evangelization, I would take a selfie and post it with #ashtag, and it was the sin of cryptovanity if I didn't want to do that.  Why can't they just agree on this?

A. Catholics are like that.
 

Q. We went to the Friday Night Fish Fry for the first time last year, and were expecting some kind of bare-bones, solemn repast, maybe with spiritual reading as we ate quietly, and then maybe a call for donations for the poor. You know, because it's a Friday in Lent. Instead, the Knights of Columbus were yukking it up, there were games and music, the food was fantastic, and we all had a wonderful time. We came home with doggy bags, and all the kids got glow-in-the-dark rosaries, and I think a couple of people got engaged. How is that Lenten?

A. Catholics are like that.
 

Q. There are pretty cut-and-dried rules about who has to fast and who is exempt, but I still hear people wondering whether a pregnant woman is exempt because fasting is hard on her, or because it might be hard on the baby, and if it's the former, maybe she should really go ahead and fast anyway, as long as she doesn't have to operate any bulldozers or cranes that day, but if it's the latter, probably her butt is so big that the baby can live off that for at least a week without noticing the difference anyway.  Why do they stress out about this stuff when the rules are right there in black and white?

A. Catholics are like that.
 

Q. We just heard a reading at Mass about how you're supposed to pray in private, and not make a big deal about alms giving, and to wash your face and comb your hair when you're fasting, but a bunch of my friends are trying to organize a blog carnival where people can show pictures of themselves eating salad while looking sadly at a snapshot they've taped to the balsamic vinegar cruet, showing their sponsored African child, who will be getting an extra $12 from saved grocery bills this month. They're calling it The 100% Represent and Repent Lent Event 2015 Y'All, and I'm fairly sure they are turning a profit in some way. How can they live with themselves?

A. Catholics are like that. 
 

Q. So apparently capybaras don't count as meat? What the heck is that about?

A. Capybaras are like that.