No, sharpies, that’s not a typo.
As rewrite jobs go, I’ve always wanted to get my meaty little fingers on the Gregorian calendar. Time for a few changes.
I’d start by resetting the first Monday in September as New Year’s Day. I’ve always preferred this lazy, warm date to the drunky/lonely/aw-damn-I-slept-through-the-ball-drop-AGAIN albatross we’ve been stuck with for the last 4,000 years. In Chicago, all Jan. 1 really signals is six more months of sleet, rain and cold temperatures (Come visit in June and I’ll prove it to you). Accountants would like it because anytime you change the calendar accountants like it. And everyone I know takes August off mentally or physically anyway.
So I submit that moving New Year’s Day to the first Monday in September should happen for these reasons and many, many more:
• Kids off the streets and locked up again in classrooms for a whole year. Adds a whole new dimension to every parent’s New Year celebration.
• Emptier flights, hotels and tourist destinations for the rest of us.
• Movies, theater and TV sucking less than at any other point in the year.
• More available seats at Wrigley and the Cell.
• Cooler temps, golden sunsets and if we’re lucky, knockout color on the trees.
• Fall clothes. So much better than summer clothes. Ladies of a certain age, I don’t need to explain, do I?
• The feeling that the world is accelerating again.
But what of Labor Day? The one day a year when we pay homage to the achievements of the average working American?
Organized labor died 30 years ago when we fired all the air traffic controllers. Don’t try and heap all the blame on The Gipper. Voters were dumb enough to give our 40th President have a second term after he successfully killed the modern union movement, so that’s where my use of “we” comes from. It’s probably why all planes will eventually be landed by Wii someday.
So, I’m happy to relocate New Year’s Day while Labor Day gets some serious repairs.
Here’s where I’d start. The U.S. Department of Labor should join up with the Census Bureau and start counting the self-employed for the first time in a meaningful and detailed way. For more than a decade, I’ve been a 24/7 soloist who supports a household, buys her own benefits and shudders like everyone else at her retirement statements. Harrowing at times, but still the best career move I’ve ever made. And I know, at least anecdotally, that my ranks are increasing every month.
So why are people like me so poorly counted?
Could it be that our broken political system needs an antiquated vision of the American workforce to continue? Does anyone really know what the “labor vote” really is anymore? By the way, I’m not anti-union. If the AFL-CIO could come up with a model to fit me, I’d join. But for now, I don’t understand what we’re afraid of. It’s time to reprofile small business and soloist workers in this country with incredibly rich demographic information that we now have the technology to gather. And once the shock in Washington wore off, we might actually have about a million ideas to finally revolutionize our sputtering economy into one where “labor” gets a say again.
OK, I understand this might take some time.
So while the NSA and anyone else looks this over, I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to start my New New Year’s Day. With resolutions outlawed (Did I forget to mention that?), today will be about executing plans I’ve been thinking about for awhile. As always, I’ll start by moving a few inbox items — like this post — to the outbox. I’ll put the final touches on a client project that he’ll open first thing tomorrow. And then I’ll head downtown to the Art Institute to look at beauty – good fuel for the imagination. Finally, I’ll wrap up with friends, a little barbecue (OK, that Labor Day tradition won’t change) and the most important reminder of all – that nobody gets there alone.
No, sharpies, that’s not a typo.