Becoming the Alien
I went to Catholic school through third grade, CCD through ninth (the extra year was punitive for refusing confirmation), and mass every Sunday until I moved out of the house. I suppose it's a mark of how deeply Satan has his nails dug into me that every year at around this time, I end up staring at the first otherwise normal-looking person with a stain on their forehead, wondering why the fuck they don't wash their face. I am so completely removed from that tradition now that the mere existence of Ash Wednesday fails to register until it's there in front of me, begging for a handkerchief and a wad of spit. It's so bad that I even forget the Mardi Gras/Lent connection.
I guess I've just blocked it all out. No wonder I can hardly remember my childhood.