For most of us, Labor Day will be an occasion for relaxation and contemplation.

(And MORAL DILEMMAS, because our contemplation will be complicated by the fact that the little cartoon angel on our right shoulder and the little cartoon devil on our left shoulder aren’t allowed within six feet of each other.)

For others, even in the time of pandemic, it will be “just another manic Monday.”

My afterschool job required me to work EVERY holiday, so my sincerest empathy goes out to those truck drivers, retail clerks, restaurant employees, medical personnel, utility workers, newspaper staffers and others who will be keeping their noses to the grindstone on September 7.

Sure, some of you appreciate the extra pay; but don’t be so modest. Truly, you folks are the glue that holds this country together, which is ironic, since most of the people who actually MAKE glue will be at home flipping burgers or snoozing in the hammock.

Take solace in the recognition that you’re ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES – even if management has decided that what is essential for society’s survival is someone to referee a round of “Maybe you snatched the last marked-down queen-size mattress, but I’m snatching you bald-headed on Black Friday, you hussy!”

After nearly two decades of working mandatory overtime, I am now hooked on my weekends and holidays. If you ever hear ME singing, “I’ve been working on the railroad all the live-long day/ I’ve been working on the railroad, JUST TO PASS THE TIME AWAY,” please put a golden spike through my noggin and tell Dinah to blow it out her… well, never mind.

I’m sure Labor Day will be more bearable for workers if the boss doesn’t pipe in TRIGGERING MUSIC, such as The Band harmonizing “Take a load off, Annie.” (“Ain’t no load coming off unless I get a new forklift and double overtime pay! Where’s the shop steward?”)

Certainly, we need to give a Labor Day shout-out to our nation’s first responders (paramedics, police officers, firefighters, that know-it-all kid who thinks he has to answer every %$#@ question, etc.).

I still haven’t made up my mind about how much glory we owe our nation’s LAST RESPONDERS. (“Sorry, we’re late. The car needed an oil change and I had three Big Gulps and Hunter finally talked me into looking at the map and… oh, he did? I’m glad it was a lovely service. So, would six months be too soon to call you up for a date?”)

Being self-employed is no guarantee of getting out of working on Labor Day. Dairy farmers in particular get no slack from the REAL bosses. (“It’s about time you showed up for our twice-daily meeting, Bubba. It would be an UDDER DISASTER if you skipped a milking. No, you don’t have to tip me for the humor. PLEASE don’t tip me!”)

I know we need a catch-all term for people who work outside of management, but maybe by next year I’ll brainstorm a less generic term than “labor.” I mean, if you tell someone “I’m going into astrophysics” or “I’m going into the clergy,” they know what you’re talking about. If you say, “I’m going into labor,” they start boiling water and calling 911 for a first responder. Especially if you’re a dude. (“I TOLD you them GMO squashes would ruin mankind’s chromosomes! But everybody listened to that little devil hovering… “)

Copyright 2020 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.