128) International Worker’s Day

May 1, 2007

El Milagro:
I noticed another new patient here today and mentally noted that I need to introduce myself to the patients on my shift (who don’t already know me) to let them know I’m their representative on the El Milagro Advisory Committee. I am also now on DaVita’s Patient Citizen’s Group now so today is a serendipitous occasion for celebrating patient’s (worker, client) voice in our care. I am sitting here considering these things as Matt the Tech is poking me and going on about something or another while I half listen and half recall past May Days from the sixties. It’s funny, I think, that May Day is simultaneously a holiday of cheer with children dancing with ribbons around a pole; a Catholic holiday honoring Mary; and a day to honor Loyalty to America and the Labor movement. These last two are of particular interest to me, as they might be seen as an example of the Americans lacking cognitive complexity. According to Wayne Duehn, cognitive complexity is the ability to see things in shades of gray, rather than black or white. I might note here that social workers who score high in cognitive complexity do better in their careers and are better able to join with a variety of clients.

So, back to May Day. Socialists and labor movement folks celebrate on May Day to remember the Haymarket Riots in Chicago back in the late 1880’s. In the late ‘60’s and early 70’s, we usually celebrated May Day with either a large dinner or a small march, depending upon our energy level. At any rate, May Day was a day to celebrate, as was Arbor Day, and Frank Zappa’s birthday. So then, in the 1920’s President Eisenhower proclaimed May 1st as Loyalty Day and suggested that all Americans celebrate their loyalty to the nation on this day. Some believe that this was proclaimed specifically to counterbalance the socialist workers celebration of May Day as a call for workers to commemorate the Haymarket Riots and to join together to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the working class.

So May Day evolved from pagan dance day to Christian “Mary Day” to socialist commemorative day, to Republican loyalty day. It somehow fits that the May Pole was originally (Norse) thought of as an axis connecting the underworld, the real world, and the heavens, since all the various folks who have claimed meanings on this day fit somewhere along that axis, I’m sure. I can picture it now: socialists, children, dancing ladies, republicans, Catholics, and flower children all dancing around the May Pole with their multi-coloured ribbons of dogma. And as they sweep around the pole, two by two, their multi-coloured ribbons join together making a stripped barber pole that draws them closer and closer until they have to touch and even maybe hug each other. Or, maybe they all get tied together on the pole…. Either way, it is a nice thought and maybe that’s what May Day is all about.

These were my dreams as I dozed away my time in dialysis, and then awoke to watch a fascinating NOVA on the secret work of Issac Newton. Somehow all is connected. So it goes.

Notes: In at 75.9 and out at 73.0 (no problems with low BP today) Oh yeah! Now readers can google my blog by typing Jack’s Kidney Adventure in quotes on google and it’ll take ya right there.
* “May Day” retrieved online May 2007 from Wikepedia,

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