Brent Batten: Why do they call it Labor Day?


By sheer coincidence, a friend and I recently found ourselves at a local establishment on the same day as what was billed as a “bikini contest.”

Being dedicated followers of fashion, we settled in with our refreshments and awaited the outcome of this contest.

Whose swimwear would be judged superior?

Perhaps a Donna Karan with a Mayan twist top and a low rise bottom? Or an Amahlia Stevens string bottom and halter top with a floral print?

The possibilities were endless and the excitement palpable.

But it appeared the judges paid scant attention to the quality of material and workmanship in each suit and even less to the artistic expression of the creator. One model in a 2011 Sauvage original design by Simon Southwood was eliminated in the first round while another, wearing an off-the-rack swimsuit from Target, advanced deep into the competition.

To our dismay, this wasn’t a bikini contest at all. The event had more to do with the physical attributes of the individuals wearing the swimsuits than the swimsuits themselves.

Upon reflection though, we shouldn’t have been surprised. Every day we hear about or encounter things that are not what they say they are.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about federal budget cuts. But the federal budget isn’t being cut. Every year it goes up, and will continue to go up after the so-called cuts are in place. But because it is only going up 3 percent instead of 5 percent or 7 percent, politicians call it a cut, so you will think they are fiscally responsible and vote for them.

Similarly, the national debt, which now stands at $15 trillion, will likely grow to $24 trillion in 10 years. But because the debt could, under another spending scenario, be $26 trillion after 10 years politicians say they are cutting the debt by $2 trillion.

How about health insurance? You buy flood insurance to protect you against floods, and accident insurance to protect you against accidents. Does health insurance protect you against health? No. It protects you against sickness. It should be called sickness insurance. While we’re on the subject, shouldn’t life insurance be called death insurance?

It’s fall and that means football. But football has very little to do with feet. The Europeans are right on this one. Soccer is football. The object in baseball is to get on base. The object of basketball is to put the ball in the basket. Since the object of football is to score touchdowns, it should be called touchdownball. But that doesn’t work either, because a touchdown is misnamed too. A touchdown only occurs when the ball doesn’t touch the ground and the runner doesn’t go down. It should be called a stayup, not a touchdown. Therefore, the sport should be called stayupball.

These are just some examples. There are many others: Tidal waves, thunderstorms, federal economic stimulus.

When was the last time you saw someone with a laptop computer in their lap?

You can probably come up with more of your own.

It can be a fun little mental game to occupy your time on Labor Day.

Connect with Brent Batten at

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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