Everyone hates Monday unless it’s a holiday, right? Who doesn’t complain that there aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done? Our busy 21st-century lives have evolved, but the quantums of time in which we live haven’t evolved with us. According to worldwide studies on labor, the U.S. takes fewer vacation days annually than any other nation in the world and ranks 7th for working the most hours. People put in 50, 60, 70 and sometimes 80 hours per week in this country despite only getting paid for 40, and take fewer days off than any other industrialized nation (only 13 per year). It must make early-20th century fighters for fair labor practices turn in their graves. Many people now work at least one day on the weekend anyway. Employers are all too happy to accept this type-A behavior, but the truth is we all need more time. We can’t put more time in a day, but what if we could put more time in the week? Wouldn’t it be great if all our weekends were three-day weekends? We’d have more time to spend with our family and friends, or “get things done” as your needs dictate.
But how can we do all this, put in a regular work week, and still have three days off?
It’s simple, we just need to change how we define a week. We don’t have 7 days in the week because it makes for some perfect division of the year or something ridiculous like that, because that’s off by a day anyway. So what difference does it make if we’re off by two or three days instead of one in the course of a year? Actually, none at all. The accuracy of our trip around the sun is based on a 365-day year, which with the addition of leap years accurately reflects that cycle and has nothing to do with how many days there are in a week. So where did the 7-day week come from?
Ancient Egyptians used to have 10-day weeks until their observations of the solar system sometime around the sixth century B.C. got them thinking that each planet was a god. Back then they considered the sun and moon to be planets and only knew about 5 others, rather than the 8 planets and numerous other orbiting bodies that we know to exist today. So they figured we should have 7 days in a week for each of the gods of Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. God bless those well-meaning pagans, but they knew squat about our solar system. Neptune, Uranus and Pluto weren’t even in their vocabulary, much less the multiple moons that each of those planets has, or the understanding that our sun and moon are neither planets nor gods. And they still believed the earth was flat and the universe revolved around us! I bet they didn’t have to worry about getting the kids to school, soccer practice, piano lessons, ballet, or deal with the lines at the grocery store 2,600 years ago.
So the fact is that a 7-day week is essentially arbitrary. It’s been an official practice in the western world since Constantine declared it so in the Roman Empire in the 4th century A.D., but even then it was merely because Roman soldiers stationed in Egypt brought the practice back to Rome with them decades before and it had already become de facto. The days, seasons and year are related to the mechanics of our solar system, but not the number of days in a week. So to make a three-day weekend work, we simply need an 8-day week.
Yeah, 8 days in a week. Can you imagine? A month would be 3 3/4 weeks long instead of 4 1/4 weeks long. A year would be just under 46 weeks long instead of 52. Work weeks can be much more flexible: Instead of five 8-hour days with a three-day weekend, you could also do six 7-hour days (42 hours total) with a two-day weekend, or seven 6-hour days with a one-day weekend. Imagine having 12 more free hours in your work week! What could you do with two more hours in each day?
But what do we call the 8th day? Since it’s going to be a weekend day, should it start with S? Or should it refer to one of the other three planets we’ve discovered in the last couple thousand years? Neptuday, Unranuday and Plutoday don’t have an especially great ring to any of them. Supraday comes from the latin for above and is the closest to workable I’ve come up with so far. Your comments are encouraged below on what to call it. I’ll take the top contenders for a poll in the coming weeks.
Whatever we call it, the sky won’t fall, the world won’t come to an end and everyone will be thoroughly refreshed and happy to be back at work again on Monday morning. You’re welcome.