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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Sabbath Blues

A man opens a refrigerator and finds a rabbit inside, reclining on a bed of smashed bread loaves. Shocked, he yells, "What are you doing in there?"

The rabbit replies, "This is a Westinghouse, isn't it?"


"Well, I'm just westin'."

After you stop groaning, we can go on. All done? Okay.

For a long time I scored the idea of a Day of Rest. I figured that Jesus said the the Sabbath is made for man, not vice versa, and having seven days in which to work meant that I could get seven days' work done.

All very true, and for a long time I fancied myself as being very effective. What I didn't realize was that people were starting to avoid me, because I had become a humorless, rather Prussian caricature. While I didn't force anyone to match my pace, someone eventually told me that I looked like I expected them to, and was perfectly capable of finding a way to enforce it.

I thought this was a compliment.

It wasn't until I married that I became aware that another way of life was actually an option. And, typically, I resisted it. God knows why Barbara put up with me! She tried to convince me that taking a day off wouldn't kill me professionally, and that I might actually be more effective if I would spend the day with her, relaxing, and go back refreshed on Monday.

Okay. I can still work in my head. Obviously, this was a nonstarter, and Barbara eventually gave it up.

Fast forward to now. I'm no longer the humorless Prussian...at least, I hope not. I've learned to take time off, mainly due to a ferocious illness that doesn't give me a choice. My teaching/research career has been prematurely ended, despite the fact that I was known to be one of the hardest workers in the business.

And I'm left with the memory of the 500 weekends of my marriage, sacrificed on the altar of a self-imposed work ethic, to a career that no longer exists.

Don't be me.


  1. The illness is a Sabbath for your overworked body. It doesn't feel like a rest, nor like a gift. But it might, paradoxically, be NOT your body's way of getting sick, in the end, but your body's way of getting well. Your body could even recover from what the medical profession did to it. InshAllah (God willing)