Labored Day

Since the New York branch of the Central Labor Union held a holiday-type demonstration and picnic on September 5, 1892, and since Congress declared in 1894 that the first Monday in September would be a national holiday, America has celebrated Labor Day.

No, the holiday was not thought up by gynecologists, pediatricians and exhausted new mothers. Can you imagine a group of maternity ward hospital beds and cribs going down the road in a parade? Let’s not PUSH! that thought.

I am confused in that so many businesses are open on Labor Day. If everyone taking the day off would not go into other businesses, then there would be no reason to force some people to work on Labor Day. I get my gasoline and groceries several days before, so some poor soul doesn’t have to wait on me on the holiday. (Yes, I realize some occupations require around the clock work, such as law enforcement, emergency medical personnel and telemarketers.)

Even workaholics need to hit the wagon every now and then. If you work your fingers to the bone, all you get is bony fingers. If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you get a flat nose (or a brown one). If you are always breaking your back for the boss, the boss better be a chiropractor. If you are the workhorse for your business, does that mean you get ridden hard every day? If you survive off of the sweat of your brow, get a tastier menu. You might be too work-oriented if you are asked why anyone would want to be the President of the United States, and you say, “It looks good on your resume.” Your livelihood should keep you alive, not kill you. Some people get paid monthly, some get paid weekly ... very weakly.

Agreed, some jobs sound easier that others, but probably just have different stresses. I am sure Charles Schultz, who wrote the Charlie Brown comics, had rough days. The seaman in a nuclear submarine with his finger always over the “fire” button probably sweats as much as a coal miner. An opera soloist and a ranch foreman probably would not want to switch jobs. A politician and a tax collector ... sorry, that’s being a little redundant.

Yet, I hope they all can be proud of their work and can join together to celebrate Labor Day. The billionaire CEO and the assembly-line worker should have that much in common. If you think about it, accomplishing something that you can be proud of should be an acceptable occupational hazard. That is the reason for the holiday.

Whether your work is back-breaking, horse-breaking, fingernail-breaking, or record-breaking – you should be proud of it. It should be proud of you. Labor Day is a good time to refresh our memories of that. Labor Day is a day of rest from work, not necessarily a day of rest. Work hard and play hard. Celebrate heartily with family and friends.

Then when the weekend is over ... get back to work.