Will Durst: The most laboring of days

Aug 29, 2013

Note: Will Durst is a comedian and you may find some of his material offensive, or worse, not funny. His views do not necessarily reflect those of KALW.  

Hey guys,

Will Durst here with a few choice words about Labor Day. You know it's been around since 1894, when Grover Cleveland signed it into law six days after the end of the Pullman Strike, during which federal troops killed about 30 strikers. So Labor Day was kind of make up sex between the government and the American worker. Flowers and candy, anyhow.

The first Monday of September was picked to bridge the long holiday gap between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. And for 120 years, it's always been sort've the red-headed stepchild of holidays. Something to show off to child protective services. 'Look, we gave you a whole day, now give it a rest, would ya? Whaddya want, cake?' And because of its placement in the calendar, not so much a jubilation as it is a seasonal signal flag. Here lies the tired dried up body of summer. Time to roll up the wading pool and pull down the snow shovel. The lazy days are over and school and football are ready to kick off. A final to chance to party in the long light. Meanwhile the meaning of what we're commemorating has kind of gotten lost in the last blast of beer, baseball and BBQ.

Labor Day is supposed to be the day we set aside to celebrate our workers. One single day off, so the real heroes that make this country great can hang with their family and friends before squaring their shoulders and getting back to the job of earning a living, and carving out a future. One day to catch our breath and to celebrate the ordinary working folk of America, the pistons that keep the gears of this country pumping strong. And no need to bring any gifts, although that whole flowers and candy thing is never a bad idea.