By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A woman hired a painter to paint all the rooms on the second floor of her home. Later in the afternoon she began to wonder if he was making any progress. She hadn’t heard a sound for hours. So, she shouted up the stairs to the painter, “Are you working hard?” “Yes, ma’am. I am,” came his reply. The woman shouted louder, “Well, I can’t hear you!” “My dear lady,” said the painter, “I want you to know that I ain’t putting it on with a hammer.!”
It is Labor Day weekend. We applaud all workers. Whether we make sounds while we are working or we work in silence; whether we work with our hands or not’ whether we work alone or with a team, we come to honor the sacred gift of work and the people who work for a living.
On day, in 1853, George Crum, head chef at a posh Saratoga Springs (New York) resort, prepared fried potatoes as part of the evening’s menu. A finicky customer kept returning his potatoes to the kitchen, complaining that they were too thick. Finally, an enraged Crum picked up his sharpest knife, sliced some potatoes wafer thin, and deep-fried them in boiling fat and served them to the cantankerous customer. Rather than be annoyed, the troublesome patron loved them. Soon other guests wanted to order the ‘Saratoga chip.’ The rest is potato chip history.
“How’s your tripod?” That is a slogan often said in Kinko’s stores. Sometimes you hear a worker say, “My tripod’s out of balance.” They are not talking about a paper jam in one of their copiers. They are speaking ‘Kinko-ese.’ According to Kinko’s founder and chairman, Paul Orfalea, three ingredients for the foundation of a happy life. They are: Play/Work/Love.
Paul believes that these three elements must be in balance to stay healthy. He calls it his tripod. All Kinko’s employees are introduced to the concept of the tripod early in their orientation and training. They are reminded that Kinko’s philosophy is that “We trust and care for each other.”
As such, Kinko’s coworkers are encouraged to develop and maintain all three aspects of their life, and are cautioned not to let work overwhelm their humanity. “Our life needs to be happy,” one group of new employees was advised during orientation, as they were taught about the tripod. “We need you to be healthy people. Complete people. Balanced people.”
Kinko’s managers regularly ask their employees, “How’s your tripod?” And, from time to time a coworker will go to a manager and say, “My tripod is out of of balance.” That means they need some time off to catch up on the play and love components of their tripod. They’ve got to get a life.
Work. play, love. Three pretty good basic elements of a happy life. Paul’s tripod certainly deserves merit. And that is why we set aside one special day in the year. And we call that day, ‘Labor Day.’ But let us add another ingredient and place it smack dab in the middle of the tripod – Prayer.
Labor Day is a day to restore balance to our tripods. A time to renew our energy as we rest from work. A time to spend time with family to express our love for them. And a time to play – with family and friends. Let us also add, a time to put prayer into the center of the tripod. So, to complete the tripod, Mass at 9:00 a.m. would certainly add lots of balance to the tripod.
“Made in America?” Jake Brown starts the day early, having set his alarm clock, (made in China)< for 6:30 a.m. While his coffee pot (made in China) is perking he puts his blow-dryer (made in Taiwan), to work and shaves with his electric razor (made in China). He puts on a dress shirt (made in Taiwan), his designer jeans (made in Singapore), and a pair of tennis shoes (made in Korea). After cooking up some breakfast in his new electric skillet (made in the Philippines), he sits down to figure out on his calculator (made in Mexico), how much he can spend today. After setting his watch (made in Switzerland), to the radio (made in China), he goes out and gets in his car (made in Germany). He goes looking as he has been doing for months, for a good paying American job. At the end of another discouraging and fruitless day, Jake decides to relax for a while. He puts on a pair of sandals (made in China), pours himself a glass of wine (made in France), and turns on his TV (made in Japan), and ponders again why he can’t find a good paying American job.
Elizabeth Dole was appointed secretary of transportation by President Reagan in 1985. Following the appointment many magazines covered the Dole marriage. Elizabeth as a cabinet member. Bob Dole as a powerful senator.
After a magazine photo showed Elizabeth and Bob making their bed in their apartment, a man wrote a complaining letter to Bob Dole, praising Elizabeth’s skill but adding, “You’ve got to stop doing the work around the house. You are causing problems for men across the country.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” Dole wrote back. “The only reason she was helping was because they were taking pictures.”
Happy Labor Day!
Fr. Jim. Shea, C.Ss.R.