Today, July 4th, is Independence Day in the U.S.A. This cartoon by Larry Wright shows a father and son sitting on the sofa watching TV. Fireworks, an essential part of Independence Day celebrations, can be seen through the window. The father tells his son, "If only I had to go back to work when the fourth of July is over".
People normally complain about the fact that they do have to go back to work the day after a holiday. However, we are meant to understand that the man is unemployed, that's why he doesn't have to go back to work the next day. The cartoon is a comment on the terrible state of the U.S. economy, where unemployment stands at 9%.
If only + past simple is used to express a wish for something to be different than it actually is:
If only I knew how to use a computer. (I don't know how to use a computer and I would like to learn how to use it.)
If only I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow. (I do have to go back to work tomorrow.)
For more Independence Day cartoons, visit Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoonists Index.