Once sure sign of the high degree in which the work ethic is held by most Americans these days is everybody’s fanatical obsession with telling everyone they meet to have a nice weekend.
It used to be that everywhere you went, people were telling to have a nice day. Now the same strangers are telling you what kind of time to have on your weekend.
Mondays and Thursdays are devoted to asking what kind of weekend you had. Wednesday is a free day. On Thursday, people ask if you’re planning anything special for the weekend. And on Friday, no conversation can be officially concluded until each participant insists that the other has a nice weekend.
Americans preoccupation with wishing everybody a nice weekend is understandable, because people suffer so terribly during the week. Monday through Friday people put in their time on their jobs. Saturday and Sunday they don’t.
Things are different in other countries where pride in one’s job and productivity are higher. In Japan, for example, all day Saturday people ask each other what kind of week they had. And as the weekend comes to a close, they offer a prayer, saying, “Thank God it’s Sunday.”
This op-ed column first appeared in the feisty Mt. Washington Press personally edited by eminently renowned publisher Dennis Nichols on August 15, 1984.