Sunday, September 5, 2010


Labor Day is upon us once again, and as its origination continues to pass further into the distant past we as a people do little more than thank our lucky stars we have another paid holiday. Except for those folks who still have to work because they are in some sort of service industry . . . and, I suppose, those people who have a job but don’t have decent holiday pay benefits. And a day off with pay certainly does no good for one of our many unemployed citizens.

Come to think of it, for a lot of people Labor Day may be just another rotten, stinking Monday.

Here’s to you, then, those of you left behind. I salute your disheartened and slippery grasp of the American Dream.

Since Labor Day began as some sort of political chicanery between a scheming President of the Democratic Party and the Labor movement, it would seem appropriate that Republicans not share in the bounty. After all, they oppose Democrats at every turn, and certainly the Right is no friend of Labor or the unions.

So, attention all Republicans, starting in 2011 you no longer get the first Monday in September as a paid holiday. But don’t worry, to even the score we will take away Thanksgiving from the Democrats. There’s no reason a bunch of turkeys should stay home from work and eat their own kind.

There. Now everyone should be happy. I am an equal opportunity offender.

As the 2010 version of Labor Day approaches, I am reminded to be thankful. Yes, I did indeed just mash together the two aforementioned holidays. To complete the image, I am wearing a Halloween mask and have a basket of brightly colored eggs by my side. But that’s not what I’m thankful for.

What pleases me is that I accomplished a goal this summer. Not the goal of riding 4,000 miles on my bicycle this year, which will be met (or not) toward the end of December. Which reminds me: in the spirit of the holiday mash up, I should set up the Christmas tree today.

And not the goal of home brewing my own beer, that keeps getting postponed because I am still finding delicious new varieties at BevMo. Someday, though, I vow I will be called Beer Maker.

What I achieved this summer took patience and planning and a whole of sitting around. From June 16 to July 27 I watched The X-Files. Yes, the show that went off the air in 2002. Yes, the show I only watched occasionally when it was originally broadcast. And yes, I still don’t have TV reception, ever since the government forced us onto the High Def Entertainment Rainbow. I’ve got an analog set and an antenna on the roof, and all I get to watch is static.

Unless I go to the public library. There I found all nine seasons of The X-Files on DVD, plus the two X-Files movies made in 1998 and 2008. By checking out one season with my cheerful librarian and placing the next one or two on hold, I could watch the entire nine years in order.

Back to back, hour by hour, 202 episodes. In 42 days.

Now sure, you could take issue with me. Perhaps this doesn’t really qualify as much of a goal. Not like running a marathon in each of the fifty states (six down, forty-four to go). Where’s the commitment in doing nothing more than sitting in front of the boob tube and watching bright images flicker past my face? Perhaps my time would have been better spent interacting with my wife and children, or tending the dog, or watering the lawns.

One of those three is definitely a lost cause, and it’s not the one about the family because during most of those 42 days they were out of state on a variety of vacations or hanging out with friends. I was the one at home, wondering where the dog had run off to and refusing to water the lawns, and so I watched some TV.

Once in a while the dog would join me, though usually she wouldn’t hang around for more than one episode while I dutifully plowed through three or four a day. Or seven. Okay, I didn’t just watch “some” TV, I watched a lot.

It was almost a relief when I finished this little project. I enjoyed each episode, but they started to overwhelm each other. Kind of like eating eight tacos but the ninth or tenth or eleventh is overkill (another lesson I had to learn the hard way). I have, quite frankly, had my fill of The X-Files, and will now turn my attention to some other activity.

After all, there are forty-four states I have not run a marathon in, and I’m not getting any younger. Maybe it is time to put down the tacos and the remote control and head out for a pleasant twenty-mile training run.

Or maybe I’ll eat just one more before I leave.


  1. I can completely relate to the TV goal. And I completed mine, too! I usually play grown-up pretty well. I have a full-time job (this is my first paid-day-off Labor day, by the way) I have two kids, I take care of the house, etc. However, my vice show is called Naruto. Maybe you've heard of it. Maybe not. It's anime. Anyway, I managed to watch all 16 box sets over the summer, which equates to about 8 seasons, and the series' three movies. There is a follow-up series, which is even better, and it's still running.

    Now you can triumph with your random Texas reader! Have a good Labor Day!

  2. Does that "one for the road" menu include a Dos Equis?