A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is It Tuesday Yet?

I only ask this question because our society largely ignores this day. Many of us think of it as a good buffer between the dreaded Monday and the middle-of-the-week Wednesday. Friday gets all the attention because, if you reach that day, then you know you have a forty-eight break from the daily grind ahead of you.

Obviously Friday has a better publicity agent.

Think of it: you get into work by 9:00a Monday morning, review all of the work that lays in front of you, and by 9:05 you’re asking yourself, “Is it Friday yet?” We don’t think, “Is it Tuesday yet?” because we don’t think incrementally. We don’t think at the end of Monday, “Okay, one day is down,” or “We’re one day closer to our next break.” No, our anxieties won’t allow us to think so small. We have to make the great leap to Friday – four days hence — to sooth our jangled nerves.

It occurred to me that the loathing of Mondays and the exalted praise heaped upon Fridays is a phenomenon of so-called advanced societies. We’re advanced economically because our society is not dependent upon hunting and gathering or even agriculture to survive. These two industries are still practiced in advanced cultures, but they’re usually smaller components of a more complex inter-connection of occupations.

Let’s compare our society to a strictly hunting-gathering culture of say, indigenous Australians living in the Great Victoria Desert. This is usually recognized as a primitive culture because they may not have all of the modern conveniences of the advanced civilizations, yet they do survive with skills that have been handed down to generation to generation for millions of years. If my memory of a college world cultural geography serves me correctly, I recall that the men hunt for food by sticking sticks into holes and consuming whatever grasps onto the stick, while the women will gather other fruits and nuts, or any other edibles laying on the ground. Sometimes the hunters will get lucky and come home with something larger like, for example, a lizard. Then it’s feast time.

Keep in mind my impressions of such primitive cultures are largely derived from a film I saw in college thirty years ago, and for all I know, the film itself could have been 25 years old when I saw it. In other words, the film was produced with all the sensibility of the Eisenhower era. For a good reference point, watch any episode of “Mad Men” and you’ll see what I mean. I should also allow that since some decades have elapsed since this film was produced, that the people I believe to be part of a primitive culture could be a bit more sophisticated by now. For example, at this very moment, they could be tweeting each other with the message, “Isn’t Gunther a real dork?”

My point is that I doubt that people living in a primitive culture assign designations to those time periods when the sun is in the sky. When the sun is up it is time to hunt and eat. When the sun goes down it is time to rest. I doubt that they go out hunting on a Monday knowing it is a Monday. They have no frame of reference that enables them to look forward to Saturday. A lizard caught on a Monday is just as good as a lizard caught on a Saturday. They don’t think of the week in terms of five days of work, then two days of rest. No, they have no choice but to think of life as seven days of work, and when the sun rises after the seventh day, the cycle starts all over and with it the search for more sustenance.

They don’t feel anxiety 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. No, they feel the anxiety all 365 days of the year, regardless if it is Monday, Tuesday, or Saturday. It is the same old grind that goes on and on and on.

So are we luckier that we jam all of our worries and anxieties into 5 days of the week? Maybe, although stacking all of our stress into certain days of the week will surely take its toll on our health eventually. Yes, we see the weekends as times of respite, but actually we just trade weekday stress for weekend stress when we feel we have to get everything done in 48 hours that we couldn’t accomplish in the hours away from work during the week. In this regard, we’re just fooling ourselves.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to pass the roast lizard.)


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