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Dude and Dude: The Spirit Of The Holiday

“Yeah, I’ll have some of that … where are you goin’, dude?”

“To work, dude.”

“Work? You?? Don’t get me wrong, dude, I’m all for it, but, like, since when?

“It’s what y’r supposed to be doin’, ain’t it?”

“Dude, who are you and what have you done with my dude? Yeah, you’re right. ‘Specially if you want to keep that Xbox fed. But why now?

“‘Cause it’s Labor Day, dude. Labor means work. So ya work on Labor Day, eh?”

“But, dude … oh, never mind. What’re you gettin’ paid for this gig?”

“Paid …?”


    1. Believe it or not, Polona, the first Labor Days actually were first ‘celebrated’ here in these Untied States of America. They were originally protest marches, called by the nascent nationwide labor unions during the first week of September to protest the low wages and dangerous working conditions that were prevalent in American industry during the latter half of the 19th century. Eventually, business leaders, recognizing that they weren’t going to get any work out of their people anyway, made the best of a bad situation and transformed the marches into a formal holiday. Sort of as a thank-you to the labor organizations for not actually burning down the factories during Labor Day.

      Which almost happened during one series of strikes that the biggest American labor union called for early May in the 1890s (I think). During these strikes, lives were lost, and significant property was damaged. The strikes and their aftermath were actually fatal to that union, which was replaced by the more moderate American Federation of Labor (today’s AFL-CIO). But they caught the attention of European labor movements, who used the pre-existing May Day holiday (not much celebrated in the US) to commemorate the American actions and, eventually, evolve their own Labor Day (May Day) holiday.

    1. Melli, since you’re of a certain age, as we are, I reckon you’re familiar with the expression “Russian volunteering”. To those, especially in retail and the service industries, who will be working on Labor Day (no choice in the matter, straight time “and be glad you got that much”), that’s how it feels. See, in my comment to Polona, “low wages and [poor] working conditions.”

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