Laborious Labor Day

I want to wish all of my U.S. followers a very happy, enjoyable, and peaceful Labor Day.  Now with that said, I must confess that Labor Day is one of those holidays that has always confused me…mainly for its contradictory nature.

I mean on Mother’s Day, we celebrate mothers and gift them with the present of doing nothing all day (not that many mothers get away with actually using the gift).  Father’s Day is the same way. We encourage fathers to do “their own thing” on their special day. The effects of most holidays coincide with the original purpose behind said holiday.

But not so Labor Day.

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Now, one would think from this description that workers should have the day off to relax and reap the rewards of the labor they’ve given to their employers and to society as a whole. And indeed, many employees do in fact have the day off. However, many of the hardest working people do not. On this day of celebrating their contribution to the world as we know it and to the workforce in general, they are instead forced to work.

Retail workers bear the brunt, just as they do at Thanksgiving and Christmas, given all of the sales that crop up on Labor Day. But they’re by no means the only ones. Military, police officers, firemen, food service, paramedics, convenience store workers, gas station attendants, all manner of hospital employees…to name a few.  And yes, many of these good people are essential personnel and life is much better and much safer (for the rest of us) with them in their respective jobs, even on holidays, and God love them for it. Others not so much. Retail, food service, convenience stores, grocery stores…there’s no reason to not let these people enjoy a much deserved day off except…except…that it cuts into profit.

So when all is said and done Labor Day has been turned into a perverse contradiction of its original meaning and rather than truly celebrating the worker, it has devolved into just another way to take advantage of those who cannot afford to lose their jobs by protesting a holiday shift.

Such is America.

click pic for origins of Labor Day (including quote above)

click pic for origins of Labor Day (including quote above)

Those sad, celebrity blues

Brooke Burke-Charvet, a model, host, former Playboy Playmate, and general low-level celebrity who rose to stardom mainly because she had a nice face and a surgically enhanced body, was just recently fired from her hosting gig on Dancing with the Stars.  She was apparently devastated and was “blindsided.” This news story has been all over the internet the past few days and I’m sorry but I don’t exactly know why any of us should care.

When a celebrity gets fired from a job, my empathy towards them is non-existent. Let’s take Ms. Burke-Charvet as an example. I don’t want to speculate, but I’m sure she got paid a little more than $20/hour for the time she put in as co-host. A lot more, actually. She won’t have to worry about paying the mortgage next month, let’s just put it that way. Plus, she gets fired and all this PR is instantly stirred up letting the world know, “Hey, there’s a pretty woman looking to get back in front of a camera.” If you think she doesn’t already have her pick of new jobs, given how well-publicized her recent availability in schedule was, then you’re crazy.

Now I do feel  for the average Joes out there who get blindsided by a pink slip after putting their blood, sweat, and tears into a thankless job for 5, 10, 20 years. After providing much-needed services — for peanuts compared to celebrities — people in this country routinely get booted because cheaper work is available. Or the job is no longer necessary due to automated processes.  Or the fat cats upstairs want more money in their pocket and to do that they eliminate a position, figuring that someone else can handle twice the workload. Whatever the reason — those people I feel sorry for.They are thrown into a tailspin without any sort of media campaign letting the world know they could use some work. It’s very possible that the fear of not being able to make the car payment or mortgage becomes reality.

But what about that baseball player who got cut from his team because he was juicing himself full of human growth hormone? ESPN will debate about his merits for hours on end, but he (and this is just an anonymous player) just made $13 million last year alone. I’m sorry, but someone who gets paid a ludicrous amount of money to hit a ball with a wooden stick, or introduce dancers onto a stage… I just can’t feel bad for them when they’re kicked to the curb.

Then there are supermodels that pout and complain about how difficult their lives are when they’re forced to put on a bikini and stand in cold water or, vice versa, wear a parka when it’s a balmy 85 degrees on the Santa Monica pier on shooting day.  I mean, that’s horrible! They should call the labor board for such atrocious treatment on the job!

Recently I read an article featuring today’s “It” girl Kate Upton. For unknowable and ludicrous reasons, Sports Illustrated put her ass in a bikini and shoved her into an anti-gravity chamber. First off — what!? Models floating in space in swimwear for a sports magazine? None of those things go to together. Secondly, in the article she was talking about how hard it was for her to do the shoot. Really!? It was hard to float? It was hard to look at a camera and smile? Was it hard to do all that rigorous, back-breaking work with the six figures they paid you?

A couple of things right off the top that I think may just be harder than putting on makeup and getting my picture taken: pouring hot tar in the middle of the summer for a highway construction project 50 hours a week; breaking up knife fights in juvenile detention centers; going around house to house at 6am every morning  emptying the festering trash out of garbage cans into the back of a truck; storming into a building that is on fire to save people; taking a call to the scene of a crime with no idea  what you will be facing. These are just a few examples of jobs that might, just might, be a little more difficult than Kate Upton’s daily regimen. And something tells me those workers aren’t getting even a fraction of what she’s making.

This goes for celebrities too whenever they complain about the trials and tribulations of their job when they’re being paid millions of dollars to do what they do (i.e. memorize lines and say them). Are you kidding me!? They not only complain about how hard it is to do their job, which is ridiculous enough, but then they also denigrate the movies or the movie franchises that made them household names. Or they sign up for and complete a movie only to complain about the end result (namely a bad movie) as if it had nothing whatsoever to do with them. I wonder if, in those cases, they return the money they were paid? Since they obviously are sooo sorry they were ever associated with the film. Somehow I doubt that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love movies and there are certain actors and directors that I have a lot of respect for — but it’s usually for their philanthropic activities and the fact that they are always “classy” and dignified when it comes to interviews, comments, or criticizing others (as in, they don’t). It’s the whiny, bitchy celebrities that get on my last nerve. I have no sympathy for them…at all. Seriously, we should all have such things to complain about.

I feel for firefighters who have to risk their lives or police who could get shot at any moment — all for paltry sums. My heart goes out to the single parents who work two minimum wage jobs just to keep food on the table.  Those people—they can complain, deservedly so—I get it.  Celebrities not so much.