Some may actually remember what they did and where they went on their yearly sojourns to fun and sun, while others just know they were told they were the life of the party but have no vivid recollection of anything except pounding headaches on the way home or back to campus.
As far as I know, no one has, as yet, been able to come up with a good response to the inquirer’s query. Although, when you get right down to it, most men and more than a few ladies do have a form of Spring Break they indulge in every year. I speak, of course, of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.
For the next few weeks, millions of Americans will fill out a bracket and root for teams they could not care less about the other 11 months of the year. Office dwellers around the country will spend countless hours stretching coffee breaks and lunchtimes to watch the one-and-done games, updating score sheets, and generally paying more attention to points in the paint versus products being produced. Some may even place a small wager on the outcomes.
Not cash, of course. That would be illegal. Perhaps the winner gets free Reese’s Cups from the vending machine for a year or something like that.
From plush-carpeted boardrooms to factory-floor cement, March Madness generates more attention than world events.
Even the President fills out a bracket, then shares it with the newsies. It’s almost as if the U.S. en masse takes a short respite from sticking our collective noses in much of the world’s affairs so as to not miss a dribble, a pass, a dunk or a coach’s rant.
Experts tell us that productivity goes down this time of year. One report pegged the economic loss at $2.1 trillion for the duration of the tournament. Given all that, I’d say it might be fair to say that, in essence, adults do have a Spring Break.
And is that such a bad thing? I mean, if work is going to slow down greatly anyway, maybe businesses ought to consider making an official respite in March. Think of the benefits. Employees would be ecstatic. Many would no doubt use the time to travel and spend money, thereby helping boost the economy. And perhaps they would even return refreshed and reinvigorated to produce more and better products.
Even if most folks stay home, there is usually a break in the weather by now. Just being able to get outside and not get hit in the face by a sub-zero, freeze-your-face wind would be nice. Many may even feel the warmth of the sun for the first time since December.
Spring cleaning may actually get done. Now, granted, that could be construed as work, but at least you could have the TV on and watch a basketball in the background while the shelves get dusted, the floors get scrubbed and whatever’s growing in the bathroom is bleached into submission.
Some procrastinators may actually get their taxes done on time. Given a few free days, several might even find an extra loophole or two. Surely with the multi-thousand page tax code there’s something for everyone if you only had time to dig deeply enough.
Here’s an added bonus to adult Spring Break: If Congress finds out about it, they’re going to want in on the action too. Sure, they already recess for a couple of weeks around Easter, but if they also take March Madness off, that can only be good. Because if they’re not in session, they can’t spend any more of our money.
Moms and dads with school-age kids wouldn’t have to take real vacation days to do something with their children. Those days could be saved to head to the beach in July or Grandma and Grandpa’s at Christmas.
In all probability, more people than ever will participate in this year’s bracket brigade. Warren Buffet is offering a $1 billion prize to anyone who correctly picks every winner of every game, from the start through the championship. Sure the odds of collecting are roughly a trillion or more to one, but it is possible.
Shoot (pun intended). It beats working for a living.
Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.