Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Best Day To Have Off For A Holiday

This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday, meaning that the "Fourth of July" will actually be celebrated on the "Fourth of July." Unless you live in Madison, Wisconsin, as I do, in which case the Fourth of July is never to be celebrated on the Fourth of July because that brings one dangerously close to celebrating America, a/k/a The United States, and if there is one thing Madisonians know, it's that celebrating the United States is wrong.

That's why, this year, Madison held its big Fourth of July fireworks celebration ("Rhythm & Booms") on Saturday, June 28, which is not only not the Fourth of July, it's not even in July.

Not celebrating the Fourth of July on the Fourth of July is not the worst way Madison has shown that it doesn't really get the whole concept of "Independence Day," though. The worst way they showed that was by, a few years back, including in their Fourth of July fireworks show a tribute to Princess Diana.

That's right: Madison's city leaders felt the best way to celebrate the US's independence from British rule was to salute British royalty.

I bring this all up not because it's irrelevant, like usual, but because the fact that the Fourth of July falls on a Friday this year highlights that it is Friday, rather than Monday, which is The Best Day To Have Off For A Holiday, which in turn means that all of America is crazy.

All of America is crazy because all of America wants to have Monday off from work for whatever holiday we're celebrating by going to the malls to by cheap linens. Whether we are honoring our war dead, our presidential dead, our whoever-died-on-Labor-Day-dead, or some other dead people, everyone but me wants to do that by taking Monday off.

And that's just dumb. And here's why: Taking Monday off gives you extra helpings of all the crummiest days of the week. The days of the week if put in order of how great they are, would look like this:

1. Friday.
2. Saturday.
3. Thursday.
4. Wednesday/Tuesday (tie)
5. Sunday.
6. Monday.

Don't quibble with that ranking, either. There are nuts out there who say that Saturday ranks higher than Friday because Saturday is a whole day off, but they're wrong. Friday is the end of the week. Friday is when you get in your car and crank up the radio and plan the weekend, the whole fun 72 hours stretched out before you like a highway in a Tom Cochrane song,

plus you don't feel like you have to do chores because you already worked that day. Saturday might be a whole day off, but it all too frequently becomes the day to clean the house or mow the lawn because you've got the whole day free, so why not spend a little time doing the work?

Monday ranks so low because Monday is the first day of work and the whole week stretches before you and the weekend is gone, slipped away into the ether, and the Monday TV shows are always pretty bad. Sunday ranks low because the next day is Monday, because 3/4 of the year there's no football on, and because Sunday morning cartoons, when I was a kid, consisted of those cartoons that had morals, like "Davey and Goliath."

If there's a holiday and you get Monday off, though, that does not make Monday worthwhile and does not bump Sunday up in the rankings. Sunday is still Sunday: it's the day we go to church and it's the day to do yardwork and it's the day that you feel like you should really read the whole paper, or at least pick it up, but you don't. It's boring. And Monday then becomes just another Sunday -- nothing good on TV, nothing much to do and if you did have something to do you'd still have to come home early because you have to work Tuesday.

Then, to top it off, Tuesday becomes Monday: the first day of work, weekend gone, etc.

So all you've done is add a second Sunday to the week, and you still have your Monday, dressed up as a Tuesday. Why? Why do this?

Especially, why do this when we could all be taking Friday off, like we will this week. (You will. I'll come into the office a little because I want a big raise.)(Note: I won't actually do any work, and I will be wearing shorts. I just want credit for being a hard worker without actually, you know, working hard.)

Take a Friday off, and see how your week changes: That turns Thursday, already a pretty good day, into Friday. Thursdays already do all right on their own because you can do stuff on Thursday night that might tire you out but you rationalize it by saying "Well, I've only got to make it through one day of work, it's okay if I'm tired." Turn Thursday loose by taking Friday off, and now your week is ending 20% early and you can amp up Thursday's already fun feeling. (Plus, that makes Wednesday sort of Thursday-ish.)

Then, you've got Friday off, and everyone loves doing stuff on Fridays. Fridays are already fun -- they've got sayings about them and restaurants and that King in the Neighborhood of Make Believe was named Friday, wasn't he?-- so having the whole day off makes them even more fun, plus that day of ultrafun is followed by two whole days to rest up, so you can really go crazy with the linen shopping. Having Friday off keeps Friday a Friday, but imports a little of Saturday into it, without that nagging feeling that you should do some yardwork or something. Hey, we can tell ourselves, even though I have the whole day off, I don't need to do yardwork because that's what Saturday is there for. So you can spend the whole day goofing around, then stay up even later that night than usual because you're not exhausted from work and you can sleep in on Saturday.

It all makes sense now, doesn't it? For years and years and years, everyone's been loading themselves down by taking Mondays off, and then wondering why they don't feel better and looser, but now you know: Take a Monday off, and all you do is delay the Mondayfication of your life.

But take a Friday off, and the sky is the limit. You can do anything you want, pumped up by the Fridayosity of it all, and secure in the knowledge that you have two full days to recover. You won't actually do anything, we all know, except watch The Price Is Right, but it's the possibility of doing something that really counts, and makes Friday The Best Day To Have Off For A Holiday.

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