Yesterday I did the essential errands and the essential computer work and then went to bed with the last of the books from the box Partygirl gave me. It is Shrove Tuesday today, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras.

This is the day, if you are a traditionalist, to use up all the rich foods in the house before Lent (thus Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday). You can also have an orgy of whatever else you plan to give up for Lent, be it chocolate or complaining. You might get the impression, from Mardi Gras parties, that lots of people give up liquor and immodesty for Lent, but realistically, Mardi Gras is like Christmas. Everyone celebrates it now, without regard to its religious significance. So go ahead.

I am giving up novels for Lent, though I am sadly expecting books from Booksfree. They should have come yesterday, while I was lying miserably in bed with time to read, but they will probably arrive tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, to underscore the sacrifice.

I am too sick to party, but I am going to work up at the store. I am doing the remainder of the errands from yesterday. I am also going to vote, since I am in a Super Tuesday state. I hope you will, too, if you are also in such a state. Whoever you vote for, it is good to vote.

There are things to be said for doing errands while you are ill, because people want to help you quickly and get you out of there. But the errands that I saved for today are the ones that involve being nice to people, and I am hoping that I will be enough better to do that convincingly and without sounding too much like Cookie Monster.

Yesterday I got the new car tags. In order to get the new car tags, I had to assess my personal property. In order to do that, you have to find a parking place and walk through metal detectors and stuff, and of course that’s why I had been putting it off. I haven’t felt leisured enough to do this.

Actually, the whole metal detector thing is much faster than it used to be. When we first got those put in, we all felt that we had to chat. You know, the guy who stood at the door telling you to ditch your pocket knives had to ask after people’s cattle, and the woman who took your purse onto the conveyor belt had to say, “Girl! I love your purse!” and the guy who made you walk through the magic doorway had to assure everyone that he didn’t really think they were dangerous or anything, and all the people going through had to make jokes.

Yesterday, though, we all just walked through like we were Yankees or something. Or, in my case, as though I were sick. I apologized to the nice assessment woman for polluting her office with my foul germs and she got me in and out of there in jig time.

Then I had to go to the revenue office. Now, we are supposed to do all this stuff in January. Strictly speaking, I should have paid a fine, and I was doing both my husband’s car and my own, so I should have paid two fines. However, I stood there blearily croaking at the clerk and she said she could tell that I hadn’t been driving, and let me go.

This is because there is a loophole for car registration. If the car has not been driven, you don’t pay a late fee. So if you go in on Monday the 4th, but can convincingly claim that the car was in the shop for a week, you don’t pay a fine.

My husband had suggested that we send #1 son to do the tags, on the grounds that I would not lie. He seemed to feel that this was a character flaw. I was a bit horrified that he would think it would be okay to send our kid to tell a lie.

I think it likely that the people in the Revenue office spend the entire first week of every month being lied to in a casual way. Who’s going to pay a fine for being a day or two late if they can say, “I haven’t been driving it” and get off scotfree? Well, I might. It’s a gray area for me. I know that I was wrong not to just go take care of it last month. I would pay the fine without argument if they charged me. But if I could avoid that fine without an outright lie, I wouldn’t feel bad about having done so.

#1 daughter had a good talk with one of the prosecutors in her office. Apparently, lawyers look at people who want to become lawyers and speculate on defender vs. prosecutor the way that we might hear a young singer and speculate about tenor vs. baritone. #1 daughter’s initial cuteness made them think “defender.” After a bit, though, they began to think she had the makings of a prosecutor. Not, as those who know her might guess, because of the pleasure she takes in leaping down your throat at the slightest hint of a difference of opinion. That I think, is a defender thing, too. No, it is apparently because modern people so rarely have a firm belief in right and wrong that when you see a moral absolutist on the horizon, you think, “Aha! A prosecutor!” The fellow told her that she had the upbringing to be a prosecutor, and that he looked forward to being able to pay her what she was worth, so she had better get back to school right away.

This wouldn’t have happened if we had sent her into the revenue office to tell lies, now would it?

It is of course possible that my husband threatened to send our son because I was saying that I was too sick, and he was determined not to do it. He would know that — even though there was an even chance that I might have to pay the fine, since I would neither lie outright nor insist on paying it if they weren’t insistent on charging it — I wouldn’t just skip doing it if he was going to send #1 son.

He’s sly like that.