Celebrate Labor Day All Year Long!
For many across the country, Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Most Americans celebrate the holiday by attending BBQs, going on last-minute vacations and drinking heavily on a Sunday night. This type of celebrating is fitting, considering that Labor Day is all about enjoying leisure time (i.e., drinking time).
Labor Day was named a national holiday in 1894 and celebrates the fact that Americans no longer have to work 12-hours a day for seven days a week, or spend their lunch breaks* trying to talk to their five-year-old co-workers.
* Just kidding! There were no lunch breaks.
While having extra time off work is nice**, it still begs the question—is a single day enough time to celebrate the incredible achievements of the working class? Halloween gets a full month, Christmas gets a full season and the stars of The Big Bang Theory are making $1 million per episode. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?
** Trust me—I’m unemployed.
Below are several ways to make the most of Labor “Day”… by celebrating all year long, on your terms.
Eat Canadian Bacon, Then Parade to Work
Labor Day was technically founded by Canada in 1872, when a parade was held in support of an ongoing strike against the 58-hour workweek.
Celebrate Canada by eating a plateful of Canadian bacon (or a platter ‘o Timbits), and then skip the carpool in favor of a good, old-fashioned one-person parade. You’ll burn calories AND show capitalism that you can’t be bought. Make sure to leave enough time to march from your house to your workplace, allowing 15 minutes for potential bacon vomits.
March to Work and Pack a Picnic
The first recorded American Labor Day took place on September 5, 1882 when 10,000 New Yorkers took unpaid leave and marched from City Hall to 42nd Street for a concert, picnic and speeches.
Pack yourself a picnic lunch composed of the #1 meal of the late-1880s: gruel with celery sticks and salt. Put a blanket down in a conference room for your picnic, and then set up your iPod and iPhone to play Vampire Weekend and Noam Chomsky simultaneously. They match up perfectly, a la The Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon, AND no one at work will try to talk to you about the VMAs ever again.
Forget Your Boss’s Name
No one really knows who came up with the idea to found American Labor Day. According to some records, it was a union leader named Peter J. McGuire, but others maintain that it was machinist Matthew Maguire’s legacy.
Celebrate the hazy history of the McGuire/Maguires by forgetting your boss’s name, or at least replacing one letter with another. For example, “Susan” is now “Sutan.” “Paul” is now “Puul.” Nothing says “you mean nothing to me/I refuse to be a cog in your machine” like forgetting the name of the person who signs your paychecks.
Take a Train
Labor Day was proclaimed an official holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland could not break up a railroad strike. Celebrate the greatest mechanized snake in history by taking a short trip to Cleveland on a train before going to work.
When your boss asks why you’re several hours late, just say, “Well, Puul, I was celebrating the invention that increased human interconnectivity and enabled the sudden growth of industry and public transportation. What’d you do—write a memo reminding people to sign your birthday card?”
When he stares at you with his mouth hanging open like the slack-jawed corporate robot that he is, put on a railroad conductor’s hat and walk to your desk. Be super-productive for the rest of the day, lest he try to fuck with you.
That’s right—don’t do anything. Our working class forefathers fought for the 40-hour workweek and for the right to work alongside adults instead of Crayon-eating snotkids. Celebrate their legacy by only working 32 hours this week.
Need more convincing? Chances are pretty good that the executive pigs you work for aren’t even in the office. Don’t you deserve to spend eight hours doing something good for your brain rather than crunching useless numbers and sneakily checking Facebook?
YES! YOU DO!
First, check out the cute puppies on a local animal shelter website, and then watch Inside Job, a documentary about the corruption of the United States by the financial services industry. Repeat this cycle of “cute” and “depressing/enlightening” until 5pm hits.
Then go pick your kids up from school. Enjoy your Labor Day… whenever you want!
Kristina Felske is a writer, actor and improviser currently living in Chicago. She is an editor and regular contributor to the humor site The Other Otter and has a performance-y resume posted on kristinafelske.com. You can tweet her @kristinafelske.