The plume of a great doom now looms. Talking about that wonderfully hideous first Monday in September- Labor Day. Yeah, sure, it's a big time, bona fide holiday, but being the last warm wet splash of summer- so bittersweet. Like the final free Continental breakfast buffet before checking out of a five- star hotel.

Labor Day is a calendar signpost marking the end of swimming pools, lemonade and fireworks. No more ice cream cones, water slides or corn roasts. Conversely, it's the beginning of turkey dinners, the World Series, Halloween and pumpkin lattes. Of leaping into giant piles of raked leaves. Don't expect to see very many outdoor ice bucket challenges the rest of the year.

The 4th of July was 8 weeks ago with Thanksgiving still 2 and a half months away, so Labor Day does double duty as a holiday spacer. But its original intent was as a tribute to the American worker. An extra day set aside to let the ordinary citizens who are the economic pistons of this country catch their breath. Because, face it, won't be long before Christmas carols are being blasted into shopping center vestibules.

As a kid, the name always seemed so counter- intuitive. A day off to honor work. Like eating fried chicken to celebrate vegetables. Hurrying up to wait in line. Nude runway models at a fashion show. Pushing cars. Ice fishing.

And don't let anybody tell you the honorees of Labor Day are restricted to organized labor. This one is for all of us who collect a paycheck. Doesn't matter if you're sweating over liquid steel poured sand molds or sweeping clean room factory floors or pinwheeling in a cubicle or bouncing from cash register to coffee urn, this holiday is for you. That tiny segment of the population that actually works for a living. And bosses. They get the day off too.

But its up to each and every one of us to make sure the flame of the American Dream does not extinguish. This democracy thing is hard work. We are required to pay attention. Can't keep letting our elected representatives hand out tax breaks to corporations for moving operations overseas. They're like 4 year olds. You got to watch them every minute.

Our industrial job base is already disappearing faster than free 3rd row Beyonce concert tickets. They got names for civilizations that paid folks to export all of their jobs. But most of them are unpronounceable because the languages they spoke are all extinct.

Besides, paying people to move jobs out of the country doesn't make sense. Like a coop full of hens awarding grants to foxes to streamline midnight raids. Or wrestling an alligator and giving him a two tooth advantage. Hey guys. We need all the teeth we can get.

So have a great last barbecue. Don't forget to take a moment to hoist a frosty one to the sweat and toil of the ordinary American who puts in 40 hours a week trying to pay off a mortgage and feed 2.3 kids with maybe enough left over for a trip to a theme park without having to auction the car off in the parking lot. The solstice is dead. Long live the equinox. Happy Labor Day, everybody.

 

Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.