We now have three weeks until the end of the term. By now, most people have a pretty good idea of whether they are going to pass their classes with flying colors, or whether they are going to squeak by depending on how well they do on the final, or whether they are completely, hopelessly screwed. But regardless of whether your long-term future holds a management position at Intel or a reclining position at a park bench on the waterfront, you have got a month of vacation to look forward to. A month to go on a road trip and see the country, or maybe a month to hit the slopes at Mount Hood or Bachelor and make major modifications to your skeletal structure. Or a month to work full-time to get plenty of extra cash together so when you blow it all in one night on New Year’s you will have a really spectacular time. Wait – a month? Is that all??
Here it is the 20th of November already. One long weekend just got over with, and now another one is almost upon us. Veteran’s Day afforded everybody with Monday classes a day of rest and this Thanksgiving will be giving folks a chance to clog their arteries instead of cramming their brains. If you pay attention to such things, you will notice that a large percentage of our holidays are designed to lengthen the weekend. This is why Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, and why Veteran’s Day moved from its traditional Sunday date to Monday somewhere along the line.
This made me start wondering – if it is ok to bump holidays around for more vacation time, why not put them all in a row? The month-long Christmas break is almost long enough to forget all the knowledge you supposedly gained over fall term, but not quite. To effectively purge your brain of all useful information you need a good long summer-vacation-ish stretch of time.
So, if we put Veteran’s Day on the Monday of the first week of December, and Thanksgiving on the Thursday of that same week, there would really be no point in having just a two-day school week Tuesday and Wednesday. The university might as well give us the whole week off. Then, the week before that, we place Labor Day on Monday, Memorial Day on Wednesday and, um, Groundhog Day on Friday. Finally, take a week off of the end of summer and tack it onto the end of winter break after New Year’s. That last week of summer is at the end of September and never truly feels like vacation anyway because of all the mounting dread over the impending start of a new school year.
This creates a nice, relaxing seven-week break between fall and winter term. Personally, I could desperately use that much of a breather, and I am sure a lot of other people could too. My general stress level this fall has been at pretty much the same level it would be if I was having to walk barefoot across broken glass carrying Rosie O’Donnell on my shoulders while she stabbed me in the neck with a spork at five-second intervals. Fall term always seems to be the most trying term of the school year, which is why a longer break seems like such a tempting idea at this point. I know the weather this time of year isn’t really conducive to typical vacation activities like lying on a lawn chair in your swim trunks and sipping margaritas, unless you do it inside with the heat on, but I am sure people could find plenty of other ways to amuse themselves.
I hope the Congress of this country, or the Congress of this state, or the assistant comptroller-general or whoever is in charge of holiday changes, will see fit to make these much-needed modifications to our calendar. In ancient Roman times, the emperor Commodus gave the people 100 straight days of games, as depicted in the movie “Gladiator,” and they loved him for it, or they would have if he hadn’t been such a bastard to Russell Crowe. This is a precedent well worth copying.