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Jim Walker: Are you suffering Labor (Day) pains?

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: September 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

At this time last year, I took on the whole "labor" aspect of Labor Day - as in the fallacy that anyone really needs to work for a living.

As proof of my point I have, mentally anyway, pretty much taken the past year off from all labor, and I have survived. (But keep that on the down-low because, somehow, I still get a tiny paycheck.)

And while I would love to rub more salt into the eyes of that beast called "working for a living," this year, I will instead take up another weighty issue associated with the Labor Day weekend: the mental anguish it brings by serving as the cleaver-chop that hacks off the tail of summer.

I am serious, my friends.

Everything beautiful about summer is winding down or dead already, and the Labor Day weekend kicks the ashes of it into the wind. Outdoor concerts are kaput. The beach is going to sleep and your pool parties are passed.

The days are getting shorter at both ends, which begins to curtail your outdoor activities, exercise programs and, pretty much, all positive motivations.

Yet again, you've missed your opportunity to take a real summer vacation and all you are left with is the heat.

The kids are back in school - which, don't let anyone kid you, the kids are not happy about. And neither are all the parents who have to do their homework for them. It only adds to the getting-home-after-dark work day.

And while I dearly love football season and Southern California's ridiculous imitation of fall, the former reminds you you're almost to Christmas and the latter really won't happen until then.

Basically, we've got heat, brush fire season and 60 hour work weeks to look forward to, with the Halloween decorations already grinning at us from store shelves.

Now, if you are thinking that I need a sabbatical, you are correct, sir. But that's only the fire under the boiler. Herein I rail against the injustice that grinds us all down - this thing called the passage of time.

You see, the Labor Day weekend is not only the candle-snuff of this summer, it is a metaphor for the passing of our glory days, be they real or imagined. And it's not so much the coming of fall on the calendar one more time that is getting us down, it's the relentless approach of the autumns of our lives, as Labor Day delights in pointing out.

The holiday offers its own cruel twist on the well-known TV catchphrase, hissing at us, "Like summer sands through the hourglass, so are the days of your lives." And then it "bwahahahas" like a ghost mocking us from the echoing, empty halls of the haunted mansions of our unrealized dreams.

Did I mention I need a few months off?

What do we do, mes amis? Will we stand for this arbitrary end to the summer good times? I mean, if you take it in the seasonal sense, the days have been getting shorter since June 21 and the fall equinox isn't until Sept. 23.

Who says Labor Day has to kick beach sand in our faces? Shouldn't we take at least those 18 more days of summer and clutch them to our breasts greedily? And, even then, who says we have to go back to school, to labor or to any other of the degradations that the winding down of the year piles on us?

No, I say. Let us stand up and wear white after Labor Day (as well as those fawn-colored Topsiders we got on sale in May).

Let us not go gentle, people - toward the end of the year or toward the "fall" of our lives. As Tom Petty sang, "Well, I don't know but I've been told, you never slow down, you never grow old." So let us not slow down. Let us merely add football into the mix and press on with a frenzied pace of summer fun.

That's where I'm running, anyway.

Well, at least until it gets too dark and cold. I wouldn't want to pull a hammie.

Comment at or Twitter @DontSeriously.


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