Office workers, look around at the barren wasteland of nearby cubicles this holiday week and admit it: We’re getting a raw deal.
Because when the Fourth of July falls on Wednesday, as it does in this accursed year, our celebration of national independence isn’t quite the same.
When you have to work the next day, standing around the grill and trying to remember the name of your wife’s friend’s husband is a few degrees less fun. The fireworks lose a bit of their magnificence when you know you should be in bed within the hour. And how can you eat five hotdogs when all you can think about is your 17,734 unread e-mails?
You can’t. And that’s not just uncivilized. It’s un-American.
That’s why it’s time we all agree that Independence Day shall henceforth be observed to include July 4 and every day between that day and the nearest weekend. When Independence Day falls on a day equidistant from adjacent weekends, it shall absorb the Thursday and Friday immediately following the holiday, on the grounds that nobody should be expected to turn up for work the morning after a drunken fireworks show at the end of a five-day weekend.
Now, you might be surprised to learn this, but I am not a constitutional scholar. But clearly, this is what the founders would have wanted.
A plain-English reading of the Ninth Amendment makes quite clear that Americans are granted rights that are not necessarily enumerated in our founding documents, such as the right to a day off of work immediately following any large-scale celebration involving fireworks.
“But it’s bad for the economy!” an unwitting pawn of our national ruling class might say. But pawn, let me ask you this: Who are you, Steve Mnuchin? Shouldn’t you be 14 levels down in your secret lair, pointing a powerful laser beam at James Bond’s swimsuit region?
It’s true that this whole business is what you might call a “first-world problem.” In fact, even that designation doesn’t encapsulate the level of entitlement required to complain about which night you’ll be paid to drink beer and point, slack-jawed, at the firelit sky.
Plenty of people will still be stuck at work even on Wednesday, performing critical public services like policing, firefighting, liquor store clerking, and whatever goes on at the mall for some reason. (“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to save 40 percent on a dishwasher. . .”) Plenty more people wish they had a job to go to at all, or even a place to call home.
For those of us fortunate to live stable lives of relative luxury, a Wednesday holiday can turn into a whole week off at the low, low price of four vacation days. That’s why all those cubicles around you are conspicuously empty this week. (Pro-tip: Work the Monday and Tuesday but take the Thursday and Friday off. When you work only two days in a row, it’s like not working at all.)
But compared with the rest of the world, working Americans are granted precious little vacation time — and a lot of us don’t even use it all. All over Europe, workers are guaranteed 20 paid vacation days off, and usually get more. The same is true in Australia. Here? Bizarre schemes to sneak in an extra-long weekend are all we’ve got.
So come on, fellow office drones. Let’s make a midweek holiday something to cherish instead of something to gripe about.
Let’s Make America Take Breaks Again.
Also, while we’re at it, the Super Bowl should be on Saturday.Nestor Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NestorARamos.