Happy Labor Day — I sure hope you’re not working

Today’s the day we’re supposed to celebrate the fact that we have a 40-hour work week. Call me ungrateful, but I’d be more willing to celebrate it if it were a little shorter.

Labor Day is intended to celebrate a lot of things, according to Wikipedia, including the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our nation. Those are admirable things to celebrate.

But Labor Day is also a way to remember that way back in the dark ages, workers rose up against tyrannical bosses who forced them to work 70- and 80-hour weeks. They said they wouldn’t lift another finger until the bosses promised to limit the hours the workers had to endure to a more reasonable number. They settled on 40.

That’s why I’m pretty sure none of those workers were hunters. Heck, if they were working 80-hour weeks, they wouldn’t have had time to hunt. That’s not their fault. And maybe that was part of the bosses’ devious plan to keep them at the switch, rather than out enjoying nature.

If they’d been hunters, they’d have had different demands. It probably wouldn’t have been a straight 40-hour week throughout the year. My guess is they’d have bargained for longer weeks in the winter and summer, but shorter weeks in the fall and spring. I’d be OK with 30-hour weeks in the spring, and even 50-hour weeks in the winter and summer, as long as I only had to work 20 hours or less each week in the fall. Or better yet, we could have gone with the European version of vacation, where they basically kick you out for a full month or more each year. I’d be down with that as long as my “holiday,” as they call it, fell during the second half of the archery season and the first couple weeks of the rifle season.

Basically, I think those workers back in the day caved too easily. But again, it wasn’t their fault. Heck, 40 hours of work probably felt like a European vacation if they’d been working twice that hard. So happy Labor Day to you. Now go hunting.

 

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