Why I Hate Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. It’s supposed to celebrate the workers who built America and fought for their rights, etc. For instance, we can no longer hire nine-year-olds to work 60 hour work weeks.

Nine-year-olds were really bad at building bridges, for instance.

And I’m glad that workers made railroads, buildings, bridges, etc. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how that’s done. It’s like making fire. Who was the first to figure out how to make a bridge?

It’s a rhetorical question because I don’t care.

I drive over them. I listen to music and I don’t care who made guitars. I read books and I don’t know, for instance, who made paper.

Somebody worked.

Maybe they got a medal or a trophy. Or made a lot of money.

And then laws were made and them someone said we should have a holiday.

A day off.

Be honest: Labor Day only means one thing right now. And no matter how old you are, you still feel it deep in your gut:

School is about to start and then your life is over.

I haven’t been to a “school” since I was thrown out of graduate school 23 years ago.

And yet even the thought of Labor Day gives me this post-traumatic sick-in-the-stomach bored-of-hyphens feeling that I’m about to be put in prison again.

The beatings will begin. Homework will begin. Teachers will discipline me. Parents will yell at me over letters in a quarterly assessment of my value as a human being.

The wet boots that I can’t take off.

I still have dreams that I didn’t do homework and it’s too late to back out. F. EFFFF!!!

And then it gets worse. MUCH worse.

They take the word “homework” and they remove the phrase “home” from it. There’s no more fooling around. We’re not home anymore! We were fooled!

Once Labor Day happens, summer is over and real WORK begins.

Oh my god, I hate work so much.

I hate when my hair is wet from rain outside and I’m feeling dirty and tired and I have to walk to my cubicle and say hi to people I run into because there’s absolutely no path I can take to avoid people.

Then there’s that first meeting of the day. Everyone sitting around a conference room table, everyone thinking how they can look good.

I passed the time thinking how many women around the conference room table were having sex just a few hours earlier. Was she? Did she?

When I was four years old and on my way to my first day of nursery school my dad even warned me: first it’s this, then kindergarten, then school for 12 years, then college, then graduate school, then you work for 40 years, then you can retire.

I started crying and he was never able to console me. Then 30 years later he died at work.

Here’s a story that is the CENTRAL CORE of my work life right now and I think can be the central core for anyone who wants it, who visualizes it, who moves towards it.

Story: there’s a fisherman who fishes all day, cooks the fish, eats with his family, plays the guitar with his friends, goes to sleep.

A Harvard MBA comes up to him and says, “you have a great business here. We can expand and sell fish into all the different markets, then franchise and manage a big business.”

The fisherman says, “Why would I want to do that?”

The Harvard MBA says, “well then in 20 years you can have an IPO.”

The fisherman says, “Why would I want to do that?”

The Harvard MBA says, “well then you would have millions of dollars. Imagine what you could do with that money!”

So the fisherman did imagine: he would wake up early, he would fish all day, he would cook the fish for his family, and then he’d go out and play the guitar with his friends.

End of story.

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