Labor Day, holiday’s Darth Vadar

Published 9:21 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

We’re approaching one of the most depressing days of the year: Labor Day.

Some people, including this one, simply cannot fathom the passing of another summer. This person cannot think of anything new to say. So he didn’t. The following, in some form, has been written before — that’s how depressing this weekend can be for some.

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: You can have Labor Day. All of it. The upcoming weekend, the picnics, the return to so-called household normalcy.

As a holiday, as an event on the calendar, in the local psyche, you can have it all.

Labor Day weekend stinks.

Forget the historical foundations of such holidays. We’re talking about calendars and what they represent.

Memorial Day, just three months earlier, is the holiday for optimists, like myself. Summer lies ahead. Back when, it meant school was almost over. It meant baseball games, long blissful days of relative carefree living. Schedules? Making it to the bus stop on time? Not happening. The horizon was wide, the leaves and grass green and the sunsets late and getting later and grand plans were made.

The Town of Boykins had grand plans when the summer began: Throw a July Fourth party complete with fireworks. Boykins Mayor Spier Edwards said his town would have thrown his party on the Fourth had he known Sedley had abandoned its plans for its traditional Fourth. Instead, it rained like all get-out, canceling the Boykins party. Problem was, the town still has all these unexploded fireworks. Voila! Have a town party on Labor Day and ignite those suckers then.

Labor Day lurks like Darth Vadar stalking the horizon. School starts (think that’s a good day? For parents, perhaps.)

Parents are out in force on school’s opening day, cameras at the ready to record the day. Parents remember their first day of school, before day care was a common necessity. Today’s kids understand abandonment at a much earlier age. At the first day of school, kids are much better prepared for the trauma.)

Labor Day is when all the plans made at Memorial Day get measured at the checking stand. Was everything promised at Memorial Day accomplished by Labor Day? Of course not. Optimism, essentially, means making plans that can’t possibly be met. How many well-intentioned Memorial Day plans begin with the hypothesis, “Well, this summer, I’m going to … (fill in the blank).”

Labor Day is when reality kicks you in the head. The summer’s gone. Again, don’t look at the calendar and try to justify that summer has three more weeks. That’s a technicality. Summer’s over, baby.

And that’s just skimming the surface of the dreaded Labor Day.

Paul McFarlane is the Editor of The Tidewater News. His e-mail is