On Bank Holidays

Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom.

We all get the day off work, which is thrilling and terrific. Apparently, the weather is going to be nice for this one, which will end an unbroken streak of rainy bank holidays stretching back to 1834. But something has been bugging me today, as I look forward to my day off tomorrow. What could it be?

Oh yes, it’s in the name.

It’s technically not a public holiday, as they would call it in America, it’s a Bank holiday (everyone genuflect † now).  Which, when you actually think about it, will make your brain explode. Because the idea of naming our precious days off after the one and only institution as odious as the Bank of England – or the special dispensation granted by Royal Proclamation to high street banking branches, letting them shut up shop on certain days – is a rather large kick in the teeth to everyone in, let’s say, less controversial professions.

Those who know me personally will note the irony in what I am writing now. Nonetheless.

Coal Miner holidays? Sure, that’s probably some serious hard work in a coal mine. Dangerous, dark, unhealthy. I would never go down one of those pits.

Nurse holidays, or Careworker holidays? The people who treat us in hospital, or look after our elderly, infirm loved ones, sometimes for little more than minimum wage? Hell yeah.

Inventor holidays, or Entrepreneur holidays? We could have Tim Berners-Lee Day and Dyson Day, folks, wouldn’t that be sweet?

Corporate Lawyer holidays? My Corp Law friend’s office has sleeping pods for the staff who work so late on a routine basis that they can’t make it home safely some nights. Sleeping pods, people!

Military Service holidays? COME ON! Who deserves the honour of naming our public holidays more than our military and our emergency services?

But no… We name our precious days off in honour of the people who open their shutters at 10AM when we are already at work, close them at 4.30PM before we have a chance to escape for the evening, who deign to give you an exhilarating crowd-packed 2-hour window on Saturday to conduct your financial affairs with a disinterested half-trained drone, who allow fraudsters from countries you have never even visited to make their Amazon purchases with your account but who stop your debit card on suspicion of fraudulent activity if you shop at Tesco and Sainsbury’s on the same day, who offer you the low, low fee of £25 to wire money from one country to another when it costs them nothing, who charge you £12 for going a penny overdrawn…oh yes, and who NEARLY BROUGHT OUR WHOLE ECONOMY CRASHING DOWN ON OUR HEADS.

So to all of my British readers – tomorrow, as you enjoy your Bank Holiday †, take a brief moment to stop by your local bank branch and leave a little sign of appreciation for the people who work inside, so that they can look at it and smile when they open up shop at 10AM on Tuesday morning. A small bouquet of flowers, a cuddly stuffed toy, a votive candle in a jar, that kind of thing. It won’t go unappreciated.

Unlike the bailouts.

Thanks, guys.
Thanks, guys. Keep up the good work.

The complete and actual history of bank holidays can be read here.