At almost every place I've ever worked one could hear a constant background drone of employee bitching and misery. The laments are universal and generally delivered in one of two tones, the straightforward: God, I hate this place, or the ironic: God, I love this place.
Thus I find it a curious contradiction that Americans are among the most reluctant to either give or take a day off. Our companies are as generous with vacation days as they are with wages--two weeks off and 8 dollars an hour is a pretty standard package. Meanwhile, corporate executives spend their 7 figure bonuses on botox injections and monthlong rhino hunts in Botswana. Then again, how many of you know someone who loves to boast about never taking a day off? I suppose I should find that sort of work ethic commendable, but I can never help fantasizing about these people being devoured by piranhas.
Realistically, the immediate prospects for scoring another week or two off per year are pretty bleak. That brings me to this Monday and Martin Luther King Day. I've always found holiday weekends to be wonderfully restorative, a morale-boosting reprieve that comes with the twin benefit of shortening the work week and allowing us to reflect on the important people and events in our history. What's more, we don't risk falling behind in our work if everyone is taking the day off. In lieu of more vacation, I propose the following half-dozen days of rest and observation:
Walt Kowalski Day - A special day to gather with family and friends, eat traditional Hmong food and beef jerky, quaff a case of Pabst, chain smoke and watch Gran Torino.
Richard Nixon Day - Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce...on RMN Day, we reflect on all of our terrible presidents, ponder the future of democracy and play badminton.
Maybelle and Sara Carter Day - Dedicated to pickin' and strummin' and the two coolest country musicians there ever were.
McBoneday - A day to put the lid back on the mayonnaise, and to put the mayonnaise into the garbage.
Genarlow Wilson Day - This day is devoted to the one time justice prevailed and a young black male was actually released from prison, albeit after a horrific initial miscarriage of justice.
Have Sex Day - On Have Sex Day, Americans stop whatever they're doing, forget the soul-crushing torment of their daily lives, lock the kids in the closet, light a candle, put a Marvin Gaye record on and get it done.
I am confident that a few more days like these would promote a healthier, happier workforce. Agree with me? Contact someone who has never minded taking a few extra days off--your local member of Congress.