Love's Labour Won

I used to not dig Labor Day too much.

All it was for me was a signal that school starts in two days.

Now it's just a perfect excuse to rake the flesh of a dead animal across hot coal and embibe gallons of fermented grain.


Labor Day has been heralded as a celebration for the hardworking men and women who keep the economy moving, and just a way to fit in a holiday between the 4th and Thanksgiving.

I agree and applaud both of those.

This is also the first Labor Day celebration where, technically speaking, I'm not exactly a member of that force.

Every Labor Day since I was sixteen (That's 22 years for you math-a-phobes), I've had a traditional job. I worked as an office clerk at a Jazz Record Label.

That was pretty cool.

Not exciting.

But cool.

Just after that I went to work for one of the first mobile phone companies, the now long forgotten CellularOne.

True story: I was once hanging out in the CEO's office and he was regailing me with the things he saw at a trade conference he had just returned from. He was very excited to describe to me a cellphone that was only one inch thick, and get this, could work as a Fax Machine.

A fax machine.

Look it up.

From there I got my first real sorta I guess job at a book store. I thought that since I loved books, I'd love working at a book store.

Yeah . . . first lesson in Love and Labor . . . and nere the twain shall meet.

"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."

But that does not include unboxing your love, finding room for it on some shelf and then trying to upsell book-marks.

There I learned to manage a business, and, honestly, also learned that I was not ready to manage a business.

From books, I went to theater. Assistant Marketing Director for $%%^& College Theater.

That gave me my first writing jobs, my first desktop publishing jobs, and lots and lots of faxing.

I was there for a long time.

After that, it was acting and writing and acting and odd little theater jobs. Lights, stage management, whatever paid a tank of gas and a pack of cigarettes.

I worked for my aunt, mailing bird toys, and parrot accesories.

That was fun. There I figured out a way to invert the free boxes from the post office and use them to ship UPS which was cheaper. I may have saved the company like a whole eight dollars at some point. I was indespensible.

And then I found coffee.

And love and labor finally met.

And sailed off into the sunset happily ever after.

Until that one day.

Until that one day when I realized I was outdated. The things I'd spent all my career trying to master became irrelevent, or automated, or cheaper for someone else to handle.

I worked hard and they paid me very well to do so.

But who wants to be a 36 year old dinosaur?

So now what am I?

I don't not do things. I do things all the time. But instead of Love of the Labor, it's all Labor of Love.

I'm pretty much a housewife. Which is awesome. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it.

I'm a writer, in that, that's what I do a lot of. Two months from now my Google Ad dollars will be high enough for me to purchase a pastrami sandwich. That's the life.

I'm a musician, in that, I play and perform music for money. That's pretty cool too, though, if like me, you've learned to specialize at outdoor events, you might wanna consider not living in a climate that pushes the mercury into the high nineties all summer long.

I honestly didn't realize how much sweat one body can store.

But here's the thing: I do stuff. I make sorta money. So you can see the argument that what I do is 'work'

Yet . . . is it labor in the classic sense?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say . . . well . . . no.

I still do work. And I still do work hard. But that catch is, is that nothing I do now is meaningless.

An executive of one of the companies I worked for once told a group of managers that they key to successful management was "To only do the things that only you can do."

Which is both genius and hypocritical nonsense since she spent most of her tenure creating more work for less profit.

Still kills me. :)

But it's funny cause that's precisely what I do now.

Now I only do the work that only I can do.

Which sounds great, and it is, but the truth is is that if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. This is the only job in my life where I am literally irreplacable.

But can it be done forever?

Who knows.

Maybe this time next year I'll be back in the classic labor market and typing this post from a desk I don't own on a dime that isn't mine.

Maybe nothing will have changed and I'll just be a little older and a little balder.

Maybe Zombies.

In a book written in the late 1500's there was a mention of a Shakepeare play called Love's Labor Won. Some scholars think it could be an alternate title to Much Ado About Nothing, some think it's Troilus and Cresida, but the majority consider it to be a sequel to the comedy Love's Labor Lost.

We'll probably never actually actually know, but I am both intrigued and mortified by the theory of a lost play. 

So much of modern english was created by the words of Shakespeare that it's depressing to think about what we might have lost.

I'm not saying my work aproaches anything like that. But it excites me to think that there is a life's worth of work just sitting there waiting for me to do it.

But not today.

Today I eat meat and drink beer.

Happy Labor Day

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