Local schools started in early August, I haven’t checked in on the MDA Telethon since Jerry Lewis was ousted as host and my family has no particular Labor Day traditions; but I do find myself pondering the holiday that salutes the accomplishments of America’s workers.
And, of course, both labor and management get skewered when my mind starts wandering.
1. Labor Day is touted as “the unofficial end of summer,” which callously steals a lot of the thunder of the autumnal equinox. Why does summer get to double dip? We don’t have both official and unofficial ends of Christmas or mosquito season or prom season. (“Addison, your corsage lost a petal. I don’t care if the big night is Saturday – I’m impounding your white clothing right now!”)
2. Americans celebrate American labor by rushing to Labor Day sales for cheap imported goods. The geniuses who came up with this scenario are probably also working on celebrating Arbor Day with a “Giant redwoods, meet mutant termites!” campaign.
3. I cannot vouch for them, but unorthodox Biblical scholars claim to have unearthed ancient manuscripts revealing that when Adam and Eve were unceremoniously dumped from their jobs tending to the Garden of Eden, an angry spousal taunt of “Next time we’re not settling for this ‘independent contractor’ stuff!” could be heard.
4. According to the latest statistics, 65 percent of students lose interest in studying labor relations when they discover that “binding arbitration” isn’t as sexy as they think.
5. It sounded like a grand gesture when an unnamed CEO thanked his employees for being there through “the lean years” – but he really meant the years leaning on a shovel, leaning on a broom...
6. Citing luminaries such as Samuel Gompers, Peter McGuire, Eugene Debs, William Haywood and John L. Lewis, one union leader commented, “We stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand very precariously, because Tucker’s Tavern is throwing a two-for-one special for Labor Day; but we stand on the shoulders of giants nonetheless.”
7. One reform-minded corporate president announced, “We’re no longer going to treat employees like numbers. No, we’re going to treat them like EMOTICONS! Now, which emoticon stands for ‘Yassuh, boss, I’m happy just to have a job”?
8. Nudged by OSHA, one company put a lot of money into repetitive motion studies. Unfortunately, the repetitive motion was depositing corporate welfare checks into secret Cayman Islands bank accounts.
9. One of the recent inductees into the Horrible Bosses Hall of Fame was the foreman at Pompeii who ordered, “Walk it off. Just walk it...aaiiiieee!”
10. Careful observation shows that different unions vary greatly in their literary aspirations. Some stress the whole solidarity thing -- you know, the Alexander Dumas “one for all and all for one” mantra. Others have more of a Margaret Mitchell “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a...” vibe.
11. In addition to shorter hours, higher pay and safer working conditions, unions have also sought less MEDDLING. Which, of course, is why they collect dues to elect the congressional candidate most likely to promote transgendered, windmill-powered marijuana farms in Lithuania.
12. Enjoy your barbecue and your NFL countdown. MAYBE your boss won’t greet you September 8 with “Pension obligations? Pension obligations? Oh, my evil twin brother mentioned something about that – right before he bought a new Porsche for his wife – Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”
Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”