week ends in weekends
curtain falls over weekdays
clock stops two days off
Henry Ford did not invent the automobile.
Indeed (love saying that in this context – I will say it again) Indeed, such an authority as the United States Library of Congress says “This question [who invented the automobile] does not have a straightforward answer. The history of the automobile is very rich and dates back to the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci was creating designs and models for transport vehicles.”
The the LOC more or less credits Karl Benz with inventing the gasoline powered combustible engine self powered vehicle that he named after his daughter, Mercedes.
That being said, who can forget the tableau of young Henry Ford working on his first cylinder in the kitchen of his Dearborn, Michigan home.
Baby Edsel in his cradle in the corner.
Wife Clara holding a wire next to a battery.
And Henry with a paper funnel feeding a drop of gasoline into his homemade cylinder with a single piston ring loaded into it.
Henry squeezes the eyedropper.
The gasoline drops.
Henry yells NOW and Clara touches the wire to the battery.
And BANG, the piston is shot out of the cylinder across the kitchen.
Who can forget that?
Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line.
Eli Whitney of cotton gin fame is given credit for that.
But you have to give Ford credit from creating the worlds greatest version of the vertically AND horizontally integrated corporation based on the assembly line where sand, iron ore and raw rubber came into one end of the Rouge River Plant in Dearborn Michigan and Model T Ford cars came out the other end.
Henry Ford in 1914 DID create the $5 day.
In an era where car companies were raiding each others work force for skilled workers, Ford cleared the table by doubling wages.
This move created the middle class and a market for his cars.
This move created Detroit that at one time would be the 5th largest city in America with a population over 2 million.
This move created the The Southern Diaspora, the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners to the north.
Then in 1926, Henry Ford created the weekend.
According to Wikipedia, “In 1926, Henry Ford standardized on a five-day workweek, instead of the prevalent six days, without reducing employees’ pay.”
Understand this was not just in his factories but in the Ford offices as well.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, weekend, as the period from Saturday to Monday during which business is suspended and shops are closed first appeared in print in the London Times in 1913 (Times 13 Sept. 17/3) with the line, “The Money Market was steady with a fair demand for advances over the week-end at about previous rates.”
In the show, Downton Abby, the Dowager Countess, (ain’t that a title to hope for) hear’s the term used and questions outloud, “Week … End?”
I love Downton Abby and all that I learned about the British Aristocracy.
It dovetails so nice with what I learned watching the movie Gosford Park and reading the book, Snobs.
In fact all the inside looks of those hoity toity Brits that you get from these sources paint a pretty standard picture.
Then I realize that Julian Fellowes wrote all of the them.
As an aside, Snobs is worth the weekend fun read if just for a look at what Downtown Abby might be like today.
So why all this on weekends?
My first job was in retail in a mall bookstore.
I stayed with that bookstore for years.
I loved that bookstore but working retail meant working weekends.
From the bookstore I moved over to working for the library.
And that meant working weekends.
Then I got a job with a publisher running their corporate library and fact checking.
I was in a 9 to 5 job with the publisher – (notice a theme here? – bookstore – library – publisher?) and for the first time in my life in years I had a weekend.
The the publisher asked me to take over, design and manage their corporate website.
Websites run 24x7x365 or in other words, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
While I technically did not ‘WORK’ on weekends, if there were website issues I was expected to take care of them.
Oh forget that, I wanted to take care of them.
I adopted the Vidal Sassoon motto of ‘If You don’t look good, We don’t look good.” and applied to myself and the website I was responsible for.
And there went my weekend.
Then I started on a 20 year career of Online News.
As I was fond of saying, the urgency of news with the immediacy of web.
Combine that with my ‘Dutch Work Ethic’.
My wife will tell you that from the day I started in News, I worked 24x7x365 even if was vacation.
To make matters worse, in the early part of my career I worked at one TV News Station and worried about one website.
Then I was bumped up to the corporate level and worried about 60 TV stations on 4 networks in 4 different time zones.
Like the man said in Chariots of Fire, “But a short sprint is run on nerves. It’s tailor-made for neurotics.”
Then overnight it changed.
I am still working in the online but for a site that doesn’t change on a whim of the weather or a tweet.
The system the website lives on is as reliable as any system you can ask for.
And when my Boss says have a good weekend on Friday night, he does not expect to talk to me until Monday morning.
It is an adjustment.
It is wonderful but still feels strange.
I am still getting used to it.
I am reminded on the scene in the movie Cool Hand Luke.
Luke encourages all the members of the road gang to work harder, work faster and use up on the materials on hand for road building.
Luke gets the crew to finish up all the available work before half the work day is done.
“What do we do now?’ they ask Luke.
Luke smiles and looks at the crew.