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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Daylight Saving Time – Saves Neither Day or Time

If you are like me and many other people, the whole concept of Daylight Saving Time makes you very angry, confused, and tired. The loss of an hour seems unforgivable, even when considering you are giving back the hour you got in November. Some say this is a fair equation, but in my mind it is like Santa Claus asking me to give back a gift, but the Jolly Old Elf  never does that.

No one ever said Father Time was a fair guy; in fact, he is one cruel fellow with the way he treats people. Only an extremely pernicious mind could make fifteen minutes in the dentist’s chair seem like an eternity and a fifteen-minute break at work seem like a blink of an eye. He has to be pretty twisted to manipulate time that way.

Even so we humans are the ones who devised this concept of Daylight Saving Time – no, it’s not Daylight Savings Time – invented by Benjamin Franklin who should have stuck to flying kites dangling keys in lightning and writing almanacs. Alas, it figures eventually we would adopt his concept of “saving time” which is just an illusion of making a day longer in order for night to be shorter. In essence, that is the real purpose of this annual debacle that more than half of the world does not observe.

The problem with putting the clocks ahead an hour seems salient – we lose an hour of sleep as Father Time sneaks around changing clocks like a cheap Santa Claus who doesn’t even leave us anything – and then the alarm rings and we are up at seven o’clock, but the world outside our windows is still dark and the little timer in our brains is telling us that it is six and not seven o’clock.

Besides this feeling of being victims of Father Time’s theft, there are other insidious problems with this lost hour that include an increase in heart attacks, driving accidents, and sleep problems. This can also cause people to suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a serious state of depression.

The supporters of Daylight Saving Time go on and on about its benefits – a longer day, more time outside rather than inside, later sunsets in order to enjoy barbecues, and the list goes on. The downside is never considered. Why do we artificially lengthen the day when there is so much to appreciate and enjoy about the night? Especially in summer when we can take the time to gaze at the stars, roast marshmallows, and enjoy a respite from the hot day. In summer night is like a soft kiss while the day can seem like a punch in the kisser.

I think we should hold to Standard Time all year round. As it is, time is different for all Americans anyway. It is why everyone is all giddy in LA at the Oscars while we here in New York are bleary eyed trying to stay up to see what film wins Best Picture. Putting the clocks ahead one hour does nothing to change that.
Staying in Standard Time would avoid these shocks to our system twice a year, and it would be nice to actually get up and go to work in daylight and come home in daylight too.

As it is, time is an illusion and always has been since the sun dial and the hour glass. We quantify time in order to constrict the day and structure the night. While we may manipulate hours like this in order for some semblance of control, the truth is that Father Time is beyond human interference and marches to the beat of his own drummer, incessantly moving at a pace that pleases only him.

Of course, like everyone else, I will dutifully put my clocks ahead one hour and then grumble tomorrow morning and Monday morning and on into the week. Like after taking a long plane ride through time zones, it will take a few days to adjust, and then the sheep will keep moving in and out of subway cars, automobiles, and buses. We will go to work and school and come home and forget that we have been robbed of an hour. Ignorance is bliss indeed!

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