Washington wasn’t the big-nosed guy

By Vickie Snow

Yep, it’s one of those Tuesdays that feels like a Monday. The extra day let us get out of work and classes and gave us a chance to party, relax and not think about anything important. Whether you did or not is your fault.

So why did we get this long weekend and who can we thank for our hangovers and empty wallets?

We owe it to the Knights of Labor for letting us turn Sunday night into a Saturday night. Who knows what they did as knights, maybe ran around tapping shoemakers and tailors on their heads with swords saying, “Good job.

But the knights were the first to celebrate Labor Day and honor the working people of America. And thanks to them, it’s a national holiday.

Only in America, Canada and Puerto Rico do we get the first Monday of September off from work and school. If we were in Europe, we’d celebrate non-couch potatoes on May 1st.

Europeans have been getting free time longer than us since May Day has been around since the B.C.s. when the Romans decided to honor the goddess of flowers and spring.

What a boring, fluffy thing to be goddess of, but maybe things weren’t too exciting then. If there were goddesses today, they could be named after something like heavy metal, Bailey’s Irish Creme or Ferraris.

But later on they did have the wild Maypole Dance where you run around a pole with ribbons like Oscar and Felix attempt to do at the beginning of “The Odd Couple” show (yuck). The dance supposedly celebrated spring and was part of the May Day party where everyone hung out and acted nutty.

But the “merrymaking and mating rites” got too crazy, so the fun ended for a decade or so in the 1600s until cooler people had decision-making power.

Either way, May Day or Labor Day, it’s a holiday that specifically honors the work force.

But what’s weird is that there are already tons of other holidays that give us a break from employment for other reasons and most of them celebrate dead people.

We get a break when it’s a stiff’s birthday (George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.), or a day a stiff did something awesome (Columbus Day), or a day to make sure we remember dead people (Memorial day) or a day a stiff came back to life (Easter…Would He be considered a zombie?) Even Halloween celebrates dead people in a way, which is nice because a ghost is the easiest costume to make.

Is that morbid or a way of honoring someone great? And are you truly not great until you’re dead? Why don’t we get the day off when we honor living, breathing people? Because being someone’s valentine, sweetheart, boss/secretary, grandparent or parent – no matter how hard a task it is – doesn’t even compare to discovering the world, freeing slaves or suffering for the sin of man.

No, don’t feel bad because you didn’t form a parade or light 50 candles for the working people yesterday. No, don’t feel bad because you didn’t stop to think about why Monday was a holiday. It’s just the American way.

But do feel bad if you plan to die without making some contribution to others. No, it doesn’t have to be worthy of setting aside a holiday for, but it’d be cool if you were remembered by something other than your appearance, personality or bad habits. Because that’s how many recall your name now (“that chick with big hair and skinny legs who sleeps in class”), and it’d be a bummer of a way to go.