Jewish World Review March 31, 2003 / 27 Adar II, 5763

Burt Prelutsky

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Consumer Reports

On Cesar Chavez Day, people should celebrate --- by going to work! | From everything I've heard and read, Cesar Chavez was a wonderful man. I'm not just saying that either. I just want it clear that I have nothing against him, personally. But another state holiday, for crying out loud! I don't even want to get into the cost in tax dollars for these paid vacations. But, surely enough is enough, already.

We are told that Senor Chavez is the first Latino so honored. He may be the first, but I can assure you, with the fast-growing number of Latinos in California, he won't be the last. After all, it doesn't cost the legislators anything to cast these gutless votes, and if it makes a bloc of voters happy, they can but hope that the gratitude carries over to the next election. Today, Cesar Chavez; tomorrow, Ricardo Montalban.

It doesn't even make sense that the occasion of Cesar Chavez's birthday be the occasion for a multitude of state employees to get the day off. Possibly, I could see where an argument could be made for the farm workers to throw a party, but the clerks at the DMV?

Besides, the whole point behind Chavez's crusade was that honest work should be rewarded with decent wages. So, in honor of the work ethic, everybody gets to knock off and go to the beach?

But, then, I always thought it odd that the greatest honor that could be bestowed on the American Labor movement was that, for an entire day, nobody in the country would labor at anything unconnected to barbecuing.

Knowing people as well as I do, I am willing to bet that some of you are dismissing my remarks as those of a curmudgeon and a crank. Some of you, I'd wager, are writing off my argument as a case of sour grapes. You're positive I'd be whistling a whole different tune if the State Legislature had voted to make Janury 5th Burt Prelutsky Day. Okay, I won't deny it. But, it's certainly not for the petty reasons you assume. It just seems logical that if several hundred thousand people are going to get the day off, it shouldn't be in honor of labor, but in tribute to sloth.

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JWR contributor Burt Prelutsky is a veteran TV writer whose credits include, among others, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show and Diagnosis Murder. Comment by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.

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© 2003, Burt Prelutsky