From Labor Day to 1 Percent Day

TRAVERSE CITY — I love Labor Day as much as you do. But for the sake of intellectual honesty, I wonder if it’s time to drop it. Labor Day was created to honor workers and labor organizations. But according to a new Pew Report, real wages (meaning purchasing power) are currently at 1974 levels, meaning workers are only, oh, nearly four decades behind the times. That doesn’t sound like we’re putting our money where our mouths are. Instead, it sounds just like the hollow praise we heap on teachers, military and first responders: “We love you … but, uh, you’re not getting any more money.” I still want my end of summer day off, however, so how about if we change Labor Day to 1% Day in honor of those who have contributed so mightily to the tradition of treating workers like dirt?

– By the way, not only have wages stayed flat over the past 40 years, corporate America has also killed off pensions and is zeroing in on employer-provided health insurance, too. Happy 1 Percent Day everybody!

– Yeah, I know, I can be such a downer sometimes.

– A Ferrari 250 GTO sold at auction last week for a record $48.4 million. Sounds like a lousy deal to me. My 2011 Prius does everything the Ferrari does, plus it gets more miles per gallon and has a CD player that very often works.

– The U.S. Apple Association says the gala apple is now the most popular apple in the U.S., supplanting long-time favorite, the Red Delicious. It’s about time. The Red Delicious is a flavorless potato with slightly higher sugar content.

– Apples are one of the best examples of how much the farming, grocery and transportation industries have improved since I was a kid. (Hold on while I put on my old guy baseball cap and overalls): “Why, back in MY day, the only apples you could git were Red Delicious and Granny Smiths, and they were so old half the time you took one bite and threw them out. And we liked it.”

– This might be one of the first years in memory where all of the Detroit pro sports teams are awful at the same time.

– I love that we’re banning straws but not assault weapons. Sometimes I don’t think we understand how truly odd we are as a people and as a nation.

– And for the record, I’m for banning straws. The germophobe in me is going to freak out, though, when I have to put my lips on restaurant glasses. If they’re smart, they’ll put something on the menu saying, “We use 5,000-degree water and lots of soap in our dishwashers.”

– IBM has invented a coffee-delivering drone that can predict when you need a cup. And with that, we have now reached the high point of mankind. Seriously. This is it. This can’t be topped. Unless someone comes up with a bagel and cream cheese delivery drone to go along with it.

– What possesses anyone to spend $3,000 on a Peloton bike? It’s a bike that doesn’t go anywhere. And it also costs, like, $40 a month to have spin coaches in New York yell at you through a video screen. That’s ridiculous. Tell you what, if you pay me $40, I’ll come to your house and yell at you and tell you you’re fat. Deal?

– Have you tried watching movies on cable recently? There are more commercials than movies. No wonder so many people are cutting the cord.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

— — —

Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at andrewheller.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com.

COMMENTS