Return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear…
Once upon a time, in a different life, I was a full time newspaperman.
I’m now happily retired, except for some part-time newspapering.
When I was blessed to work that career full time, however, I used to dislike holidays.
They interfered with my job -- and I’m a get-the-job-done type -- simply because the people I needed to talk to were often off for the day.
I don’t call folks about stories when they’re off work except in dire emergencies.
As a result, I’d make rounds the next day or day after and usually reach them. But then I had to write stories faster, under a closer deadline due to the holiday.
Wasn’t too big a problem, I guess: back in the day, I could write faster than anyone who could write better, and I could write better than anyone who could write faster.
The whole Fast (talking) And The Furious (typing) process left me with a lasting dislike for minor holidays that disrupted my work schedule.
That dislike continues today. Old habits die hard.
If I was still working fulltime, I’d have been grumping earlier this week, since Monday was President’s Day.
Right now, with all that’s happened since The Election, I’m thinking maybe we ought to do away with that holiday until we get a president.
Anyway, back to the topic.
What’s the meaning of President’s Day? Who knows? Who cares? Why on Earth do we take that day off?
Why not celebrate National Roadkill Clean-Up Day? Sign a proclamation. Strike a commemorative coin. Remember, Only You Can Prevent Roadkill.
Help eliminate this environmental blight – scrape it up, take it home and cook it. Who cares if there are tire tracks across the top of the casserole?
Even though I only work part time now, if it were up to me I’d abolish all these downmarket holidays, but keep the heavyweights.
Of course, “part time” is often a euphemism. Like many retirees, my life stays as busy as it once did -- only the jobs have changed.
I still do some stories, columns, features/ editorials for several newspapers -- this one included.
And yeah, I’m still blessed.
I’ve got a honey-do list longer than a roll of toilet paper. It stretches from Genesis to Revelation.
And after I’ve made what progress I can on that for a day, there’s lots more to keep me going each day.
There’s stress relievers/conditioners: Walking and running with Colonel -- my faithful dog that is older than me in dog years -- a couple miles each morning.
There’s the weights and exercise -- doing the benchpresses, deadlifts, the odd sideplank or wall-sit. There’s whacking the heavy bag -- it never says “ouch” or “foul” or “I’m too tired to scrap with ya today.”
There’s honey-dos including dusting, vacuuming, washing dishes, grocery shopping, making up the bed, helping out Sandra with the youngster and the grands, and doing some cooking (and naw -- I don’t use the smoke alarm as a timer. Well, not any more).
In case you haven’t figured it out, there are very few ”his” or “her” jobs around the ol’ Compound. There’re mostly “our” jobs, and we do them as the need arises.
There is also lawn work -- poop patrol (picking up you-know-what from the property every day) mowing, trimming shrubs, mulching, raking leaves, bug check and worm check in the gardens during season.
There’s also WETU -- WhatEver Turns Up -- various pop-up missions around the house or around town.
In other words, I plan to burn out, not rust out, in retirement.
Still, if it were up to me, I’d trim the holiday list back drastically.
My franchise players would be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day Independence Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Veterans’ Day, and maybe one or two other optional holidays.
I like the idea of recognizing Dr. King’s birthday, and Gen. Lee’s birthday – but I’d keep the kids in school on both days, or at least learning virtually, in these Covid-19 times.
Both men valued education, saw it as a path to a better life. Seems like kind of a slap in their face, instead of honoring their memory, to close schools for the day.
All the rest of these lightweight holidays – National Dipdunk Day or whatever -- bench ‘em or cut ‘em.
Take Columbus Day, for instance. Take it far away in my opinion. Why do we even celebrate that day?
Columbus didn’t even discover America. He landed someplace in the Key West area -- accounts differ as to exactly where.
Want to honor whoever discovered North America? Tip your hat to the Vikings, who discovered the continent -- and some say actually got down into what is now the northern United States coast -- long before Columbus did.
Or celebrate the prehistoric men and women who crossed the Bering Straits from Siberia to what is now Alaska thousands of years ago.
I’d make it mandatory that if you couldn’t explain the importance of these bush-league holidays, you wouldn’t get them off.
You want the day off, and you can’t even spell the day, much less explain its importance? I’d say: “Celebrate all you want that day. Let ‘er rip – before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.”
My wife says that when life hands you lemons make lemonade. It’s good philosophy, and I try to carry it out.
As with so many other things, it shows why I’m so much smarter when I’m around her.
When a grain of sand irritates an oyster, the oyster makes a pearl out of it.
Holidays that everyone else got to take, and I didn’t, and made it harder for me to do my job even now, irritate me.
This column – as close to a pearl as I could produce on short notice – is the result.
Thanks for letting me fix you some lemonade with a pearl…