If you’re reading the title of this post and wonder if this will be a treatise on the meaning of Labor Day, well… I’ll go there just a little bit. I will say that it’s nice that the day is set aside to recognize and appreciate the ability to work a living and reap its benefits. Sure, those benefits may very from job to job, person to person, and situation to situation — a fact that isn’t lost on organized labor entities, who aren’t going to let anyone forget this day’s meaning, and more than a few lawmakers (like, say, Madison’s representative in Congress) who are fully hep to the holiday. But still, at the end of the proverbial day, it does feel good to put in a hard day’s work.
But admit it, though; you probably don’t dwell on the meaning of Labor Day too much. Which is natural, I suppose, since Labor Day coincides with the end of the summer vacation period. You probably squeezed in at least a few moments to appreciate summertime’s waning hours today, didn’t you? Labor Day also coincides with the start of the new school year (I can hear the groans of kids everywhere), as well as the start of football season, which is a big to-do every fall in cities and towns throughout this country, especially here in Wisconsin. (Hey hey! The Badgers won!) Used to be, too, that Labor Day meant vegging out in front of the TV for a spell and be entertained while watching requests for pledges to
prevent an evil genius from blowing up the world support a charity a beloved comedian put his heart and soul in to support; but that was then and these are changed times. The sun and fun of outdoors on this date are still there, but there’s no longer any sign of a guy in a sweaty, odorous tuxedo.
While Labor Day is meant to be a day off, it’s kind of ironic that there are some who must still work today. And I’m not just talking firefighters or the such: I had to make a trip to the discount department store down the road this afternoon (I had to get birthday cards for my nieces’ upcoming birthdays), and had to empathize with the employees who had to work there today. I mean, here they were working on what should be a day off for them. I almost had the urge to give a hug to the checkout clerk for having to work… though I admit I didn’t (it would’ve look awkward). Give this store credit, at least, for keeping a light staff on hand (only two or three people by my count; it’s not a Walmart or Target, if you’re wondering).
Exiting the store, I thought to myself, I hoped those store employees earned time-and-a-half or something similar today, if not a full day off later this week. I hoping, too, that working together on a day such as this at least helped build a sort of camaraderie between them; working in retail can be soul-crushing sometimes, so they deserve a bond of kinship. If you had to go to some store somewhere today, here’s hoping you gave those working there a little bit of an appreciation and show of support. Here’s hoping you had an enjoyable and safe Labor Day weekend as well.