Labor Day – Boredom Resolved?

laborHere in America we celebrate Labor Day, a hats-off-to-you for having to work for a living.  Because you have to spend your entire life working, you get one day off every year assuming you don’t work in retail or at a gas station.  If you’re one of the unfortunate souls that do, you get screwed and still have to show up while all those with the day off get to make you busier than you normally are.  It’s pretty ironic how that works.

I spent 30 years of my life trying to get out of jobs where I had to work on national holidays.  First it was the restaurant business.  I worked at the Main Event restaurant located inside of the Pontiac Silverdome, the former football home of the Detroit Lions.  Know what that meant besides seeing a lot of Lions losses?  Well, let me put it this way – game days were our biggest days, and the Lions always host a game on Thanksgiving Day.

I had to work.  And I had to be at work by 3:30 in the morning nonetheless.

Then I got into radio as an air personality.  Radio stations operate every day of the year regardless of holidays.  Christmas Day?  Thanksgiving?  Memorial Day?  Labor Day?  Easter Sunday?

Name any and every holiday, I worked.

Then I became an optometric technician, working for an optometrist who set up shop inside a major eyeglasses store chain, mostly located in malls.  I had the fortune of getting Christmas Day off because the malls were closed.  But Thanksgiving Day?  New Years Day?  Easter Sunday?

Doctors are greedy pricks so yeah, I worked.  Well, except on the major Jewish holidays because all doctors are greedy Jewish pricks.

Finally I wised up and went back to school to get into computer programming.  At last, a Monday through Friday gig with weekends and holidays OFF.  It seemed like heaven for the first decade.  I felt like a real American, being able to stay home or travel on those days the American labor unions fought so hard for to stay at home, drink beer and be lazy.  Unions – you gotta love ‘em.

But as with everything, there is good and bad.  Nowadays I view Labor Day as my reward for being bored as hell at work, being unchallenged, under paid and under appreciated.  For my conformation to the American corporate environment I get to take a day off at the end of summer.  More irony in the ever expansive sea of irony called life.

Working for a living bores the crap out of me.  I get to do the same mundane things every day.  The term “same shit different day” applies to me 99.999% of the time.  Those five nines of surety add even more to the boredom I experience.  They take away one thing we all need, which is hope.  In the realm of computer server availability those five nines represent one heck of an impressive number.  In the assurance of boredom it’s a death sentence.  A spot-on guarantee that the humdrum becomes the absolute norm.

Is there such a thing as a challenging job?  I suppose if you’re an astronaut, taking a space walk from the shuttle would offer challenge and an invigorating afternoon, but when your turn is over and you come back home to Earth chances are you’re back to the same crap every day over and over no matter how cool your tasks may seem to those of us “regular” people.  You got your chance, took it, and now you’re back home pushing paper or whatever astronauts do when they’re back on home soil.  They don’t make Tang commercials anymore, that’s for sure.

If you’re the president you get the challenges of dealing with partisan politics, but after doing that for awhile you throw your arms up in frustration, realizing the senate and congress will never work together to get things done.  You retire your ambitions and succumb to the reality that the real reason why you ran for the office in the first place was nothing but a naïve pipe dream.  Your only friend from there on out is boredom…unless you have the benefit of a terrorist attack that can offer new opportunities and chances for advancement to the lecture circuit after your term is done.

Going to a carnival can be loads of fun.  You get the thrill of riding on the rides, eating food that eventually makes you throw up on those rides, and winning stupid stuffed animals at the midway.  Not very boring.  But boredom does exist at the carnival – just pay attention to the bearded guy with the beer gut whose job is to stand in one spot all day pushing the same button and throttling the same lever so the ride you’re riding can go round and round in the same continuously boring circle.  Boredom, plain and simple, and it’s worse for him because he gets to watch you as you’re having the time of your life while he stands there, cramping up and getting paid minimum wage.

Baseball player.  Sounds exciting, but try being the left fielder.  You can head out to the field and just stand there forever, adjusting your cup while thousands of people watch you.  No one hits the ball your way, and the 20 minutes or so it takes to complete the half inning could have been better spent sneaking into the locker room and grabbing a beer.  But at least you’re getting paid ridiculous sums of money to be bored out of your skull.  It’s a game anyway, so quit your bitching.

Mortician.  Where does the excitement come from in that job?  You spend all day with dead people.  Sure, it might be a great way to practice your standup comedy routine, but unless you’re one of those comics who laughs at their own jokes, your audience is, well, stiff.  But I think those who get into that profession have got to enjoy boredom anyway.  By the way, what are the options for career advancement if you’re a mortician?  Even if you bring a dead guy back to life, it’s still a dead end job.

A pun, intended.

Just a small sampling of boredom there.  But, if you’re the guy who doesn’t get Labor Day off, you can’t be bored, at least on that day, because you’re so damn busy from all those other yahoos like me who get the day off because they work such cushy, “normal” jobs.  Sometimes I don’t know which I’d rather have for a job.  Benefits and sacrifices, different strains of boredom.

Well, yeah, I guess I do know what I’d rather have – with my cushy, “normal” job at least I get Columbus Day off with pay.  Now THERE is a holiday worth celebrating.  It’s well worth the price of boredom.  In New England many of us get Patriot’s Day off.  What’s the big thing to do on Patriot’s Day?  You go stand in a crowd fifteen people deep and watch idiots run the Boston Marathon.

How bloody boring is that?  Unless you’re smart enough to grab a beer at one of the pubs lining the race route.  But even with said beer, how bloody boring is that?

One of these days someone’s got to come up with a real way to put some excitement into working for a living.  While they’re at it, they can give the people who don’t get all those national holidays off a day of their own where they get the day off with pay.  They won’t be able to do anything, though, because all the beer stores, 7-Elevens and gas stations will be closed because there’s no one to man the cash registers because they’re off for their special holiday.

More irony for the sake of irony.

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