Essay: You Must Be Very Busy

It wasn't enough, was it? Millions of Americans are coming to the end of their annual summer vacations. You've enjoyed a couple of weeks off from work * -- maybe three if you're very lucky. You're right to want more. The American chintziness about vacations is absurd.

In Washington, at least, the easiest way to flatter someone is to say, "You must be very busy." (And the most disconcerting answer is, "No, not really.") It is today's ritualistic form of obeisance. It means, "You must be very important." We've come a long way in the century since Thorstein Veblen wrote about...