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T. Sher Singh Headshot

Government Shutdown? Let Your Hair Down

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The shutdown of the U.S. government this week is sending shockwaves around the world.

Everyone is in a tizzy.

Some for good reason because it means there'll be no paycheck next week or for an uncertain while. Others are suffering vicariously because they worry what it'll do to the Monopoly money they own on Wall Street, or what'll happen to their business sectors, no matter where they are situate in the world.

The politician-kids are sulking and refusing to play with each other. Why? Because some kid wants to change the rules of the game... again! Meanwhile, the other kids have to hang around for a while, scratching their heads: is it time to go home, or should I wait and see? Na-aa-h! I'll come back tomorrow and see if they've made up!

All I can think of, sitting far away and watching the kids sulk on the telly, is the day in school -- long, long ago -- when the secretary from the principal's office walked into class and announced that Brother Johnson was feeling under the weather that day, and we'd be on our own for the day.

"Make sure you are quiet at all times. Pull out your books and work on them on your own!"

Yeah, Sure! We nodded in unison.

Those windfall days were the best in our lives. Like stolen kisses, they were sweet, far more fun than the Thursday half-days or Sundays or even the real holidays.

This one had the air of bootleg around it. It wasn't meant to be a day off, which made goofing off that day all the more heavenly.

Years later, I felt the same sense of elation when I'd walk into court for a trial and be told that the day had been cancelled because the Judge was sick. Or the matter got settled minutes before the judge walked in.

So, we got to go home.

Back at my law chambers, I would've already notched the day out of the office. So, why not take the day off? Go for a drive in the countryside, read a book, catch a matinee, surprise your partner in her office and whisk her away ...

Such windfall days are god-sent and are meant to be savoured and relished and enjoyed to the hilt. They are like the rain of blessings we are constantly showered with, our Elders remind us; it's up to us to pull out our shirt-tails and catch them... or be careless and let them fall to the ground and drain away, awasted.

I don't understand all the griping I can hear from every quarter. Even here in Canada: "What'll it do to our economy?" I heard someone whining the other day.

Nothing. It'll do nothing.

The government will be back and running -- well, to be truthful, back at the pace it was before: limping! -- soon as the politicians will realize that the stock-market will begin to plummet if this silliness carries on for too long. Which means all the shares owned by these very politicians -- all the personal wealth they have so diligently accumulated -- will nose-dive in value, and become increasingly worthless. And that cannot be allowed to happen, can it?

So, accept it. It's a week or two or three of a windfall holiday. The teacher is sick, the cat's away... whatever.

Pack up your bags, pile them into your car, and sneak away to do something, anything you've long wanted to do, but couldn't find the time.

Take your lover and/or loved ones out to dinner. Read a stack of books. Go fishing. A drive in the hills. Rent a cottage. Start on season one of Breaking Bad. Or sit on your porch and simply watch the world go by.

These are days that can't be bought for a million dollars. Because when you do cash in on your holiday time or sick-leave, it doesn't have the added aura, the glow, the sweetness ... of a stolen kiss.

These could be some of the best days of your lives. Let the politicians nurse their ulcers. You go do something naughty.

Like nothing, for example.