The Morning File gets excited when it sees an administrator, employer, supervisor or anyone with that sort of clout make an unconventional command decision in the interest of the common man/employee/student/etc.
That is why we were so overjoyed that we could have run 26.2 miles (well, over a few weeks, perhaps) when we saw the following paragraph leading off an Associated Press story out of Seattle last week:
"In sun-deprived Washington state, the promise of nice spring weather prompted a small private school to give students a day off to enjoy the sunshine."
The 205 students and 22 staff members at Bellingham Christian School had a "sun day" rather than "snow day" on Friday to grant them a reprieve from class work of any kind. The school's website announced: "School cancelled due to great weather! Wahooo!" A school assembly this morning is to focus on a photo display from the students themselves showing how they spent their day off in the sun.
(Note: You shouldn't show the above paragraph to your children; they will all immediately want to transfer to Bellingham Christian School, regardless of their age, religion or the fact that their family lives more than 2,000 miles away. Heck, I want to enroll now at Bellingham Christian School, and I'm an agnostic 54-year-old.)
Why can't every decision-maker in the world be as enlightened as Bellingham principal Bob Sampson? With a gesture so simple, he undoubtedly gave joy to so many. (Yes, a few kids might get skin cancer from playing outside all day without sunscreen when they should have been doing geometry problems inside, but let's not nitpick.)
Mr. Sampson was the rare authority figure who used his clout to say: Yes, be free, have fun, enjoy life, throw convention out the door for a day.
We wanted to present this novel concept to our bosses at a certain workplace on the Boulevard of the Allies Friday after getting the weather forecast, but then we realized they probably see themselves as part of the real world, where such things cannot occur.
The chances of a free workplace "sun day" seemed even more remote than the possibility of procuring automatic towel dispensers that work in the office restrooms. (Oh, wait, the proliferation of automatic, non-functioning devices for washing and drying hands and flushing toilets is not a Post-Gazette problem -- that's a global concern the U.N. needs a high commission working on.)
Mr. Sampson's benevolent act is apparently due in part to how little warm sunshine the people of Washington are accustomed to at this time of year, with 2013 being no exception. The folks of Pittsburgh could have pleaded much the same case up until the weekend we just enjoyed. It has had the feel of one of those "Good riddance, winter/hello summer/hey, what happened to spring?" kind of years we seem to get all too frequently.
Then again, we could be like Minnesota and Wisconsin, where more than a foot of snow fell in some areas Thursday and youngsters in many schools got a -- you guessed it -- snow day. On May 2. That's the sort of thing that gives global warming a bad name, but as a friend pointed out over the weekend while enjoying a glorious day at PNC Park, someone really screwed up by dubbing man-made climate change patterns as "global warming."
It's more like global freakiness, where it seems like every month there's a Hurricane Sandy or Winter Storm Nemo or something else that's supposed to be the worst of its kind ever, accompanied by a persistent North American drought in need of a good marketing agent to give it a catchy name.
And just as rare and exotic, places as typically dreary as Seattle and Pittsburgh have a week ahead of mostly sunshine and temperatures of 70 or more. If that's not cause for shutting down schools and factories -- and newspapers -- we don't know what is.
Additional play days are in order hereabouts, especially, considering some of the people who might have hoped to enjoy their own Sunday activities were either inconvenienced by Pittsburgh Marathon street closings or had to work extra hard on the event.
Hopefully, there's a little of Bob Sampson in a lot of bosses this week, who understand the best motivational tool for a workforce is to send it home. It never hurts to hope so, at least, on a beautiful morning like this.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.