LABOR DAY is properly the time to celebrate organized labor and workers in general; and we would not wish to take anything away from this celebration. We would suggest, nevertheless, that there are forms of work that are almost never acknowledged, yet also deserve an honorable place in the day's parades. In physics, you'll remember, the definition of "work" is the exertion of energy that makes something move. Some - not we - would say that such a definition excludes waiters and postal workers, on strike or not. But those workers are never so excluded in the public mind. Scholars, on the other hand, make nothing move so, just because they sit around and read books, people often assume they aren't working. They toil not, neither do they spin. But consider how, like lilies in the field, they grow. We ask you to include scholars in your observance of the day.
Then there are the composers and painters, who move the spirit, but nothing tangible - which may be why their products are called "works," while they themselves are thought of as the leisure class. Add to them actors and dancers - and teachers, certainly. The only thing we see teachers move is chalk, yet the best of them set thoughts in motion that go forever. Don't leave them out.
Don't leave out chess players either, who do move objects, though very slowly. And remember the flag-pole-sitters and the fishermen, who sit very still but are working like beavers. Strippers work, too, don't fail to cover them.Or models, or beauty queens. Think of the body-builders, who work up a sweat merely looking at themselves. And there are the mummers, anyone who thinks that dressing up in feathers and marching in Philadelphia while playing the banjos isn't work is just kidding himself.
Can we not also say a good word for those who work so diligently at their personality traits that they virtually become them? We are thinking of worrywarts, whiners, skinflints, schemers and the like, whose traits take hours of concentration to sustain - work without doubt. Forget not the hypochondriacs, either, or the egomaniacs, or the xenophobes. Forget not the optimists and sycophants. Workers all.
Finally, make room for writers of all kinds - poets and novelists - who move only the cartridges on their typewriters, yet with each chug shake nations. And make a special place - perhaps a parade float of their own - for editiorial writers and columnists, who spend their long days sitting first one way, then the other, who pace and mutter , who sometimes rest their weary heads in their hands, and sometimes not. Talk about work.