Does anybody else violently detest Sundays?
A day is, after all, only a period of 24 hours with a name attached to it, so hating a day isn’t really logical. You’d may as well hate 2:27PM for all the sense it makes. And yet days have an undeniable feel, a character all their own. And Sunday feels like shit.
If a week were the Beatles, Sunday would be Ringo. No, worse, it would be Pete Best. If Sunday was a Marx Brother, it’d be Zeppo. If the days of the week were Olympic events, Sunday would be a shuffleboard tournament. You get the idea.
He may have the silliest sounding male name this side of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, but Kris Kristofferson knew how to express the dreary awfulness of a Sunday in his lyrics:
On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.
There are those who would argue for the title of Worst Day of the Week to be handed to Monday (a perennially popular choice, what with all the distasteful associations with work and business and having an occupation and so forth) or Wednesday (too middle-of-the-week, annoying to spell, lacks a strongly developed personality). But I’ll have to put in my vote for Sundays.
Sundays are a glimpse of life’s emptiness and meaninglessness stripped bare, creating the kind of desolate feeling one might get from a Chekhov story or a trip to Walmart. On Monday you can busy yourself with work. On Fridays begin the weekend festivities. But Sundays are a dose of bleak, unrelenting nothingness, a chance to peer into the void and see that, without the distractions of work or partying that take up the other six days of the week, Life simply ain’t got much going on.
A few brief notes on some cultural and social associations with the day of rest:
Of course, for those of us who are at least nominally Christian, the morose sound of church bells plays a big part in developing an aversion to Sundays from early childhood. If you’re Catholic, it’s the day to grovel before God and apologize profusely for the miscreant behavior of your other six days. If you’re Protestant, you put on your best button-down shirt and sweater vest and pretend that you actually enjoy not working for a day.
In Muslim countries as well as Israel, Sunday is just a normal work day, but don’t be tempted to convert/revert and move abroad, fellow Sunday-loathers; it just means they push the dreary, glum nothingness of a Christian Sunday onto another hapless day. The existential awfulness of a Sunday will catch up with you no matter where you run.
A big part of the justification for Sundays is that it’s a time to spend with family. Which sort of begs the question: who in their right mind wants to spend any more time with their family than they have to? And anyways, that’s what Christmas and Thanksgiving are for.
If you’re the sort of mental defective who actually enjoys the company of their own family, do it on your own time. No need to torture the rest of us by demanding an entire goddamn day of every single week that has to be spent in the company of the genetic embarrassments from which we issued.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once called Sundays “the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.” Which is exactly the sort of pretentious pseudo-profundity you’d expect from a guy with a poncey name like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Fuck him. He sounds like he spent his Sundays engaging in voluminous written correspondence with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Alfred Lord Tennyson where they circle-jerked each other off about the astonishing wisdom of men with three friggin’ names.
Truly the greatest musical ode to Sunday has to be the aptly titled classic “Gloomy Sunday” AKA, “The Hungarian Suicide Song.” Composed by Hungarian Rezso Seress in the 1930s, the mournful ballad was so toxically depressing that when the aspiring songwriter submitted it to a music publisher, the publisher rejected it by saying that he found the song not merely sad, but possessing “a sort of terrible compelling despair‚Ä¶I don’t think it would do anyone any good to hear a song like that.”
Turns out the skittish music publisher may have been onto something. In the 30’s the song was blamed for upwards of 19 suicides and, although it’s difficult to prove a firm connection between a song and suicide, stories of people jumping out of windows while the song was still playing on their phonograph make the song’s death mythology and morbid aura kinda compelling.
Extra trivia: The Billie Holliday version of the tune was banned by the BBC as “detrimental to wartime morale” and the ban was only lifted as recently as 2002 (a half a century ban for a song that might encourage youth suicide? Top THAT, Judas Priest!)
Furthermore, the song’s composer, Seress, committed suicide by jumping out of an apartment window, then choking himself to death with a wire in his hospital bed. Of course, that may only have been because, like any gloomy bohunk, he couldn’t stand another day of looking at the permanently grey skies of Eastern Europe from his Budapest apartment, and it had nothing at all to do with the song. But it certainly adds to the mythology.
In other words, it’s a one-hit wonder with a body count. Only a song with “Sunday” in the name could achieve that dubious distinction.
SIX WORTHWHILE THINGS YOU CAN DO ON A SUNDAY:
1. Contemplate suicide.
2. Attempt suicide.
3. Contemplate attempting suicide.
4. Go to church for the first time in 20-odd years, just to remember what it feels like.
5. Make good on your long-overdue promise to yourself to finally read either Moby Dick or Ulysses from cover to cover.
6. Start drinking early. If you’re passed out face-first on the floor by 4PM, there’s a good chance you can sleep straight through to the far more productive and enjoyable day of Monday.