XVI – “Time” For a Change?

Recently in the United States, we’ve undergone a ritual change. We do it twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Many other countries do this also, albeit on different days. The change to which I’m referring is the semi-annual adjustment of the clocks to commence or conclude Daylight Saving Time, in other countries simply called Summer Time. What is this thing? Who started it? Why is it still a thing? Well, let’s examine…

Daylight Saving Time, or Summer Time, has been around for about 100 years, even though there is record of Benjamin Franklin (yeah that guy, the first Postmaster General, founder of the public library system, kite-flying lightning dude, the face of the $100 bill, that guy) toying with the idea. It was first started on a local level in Canada, but on a national scale in Germany and Austria around World War I. The United States had a thing called War Time and Peace Time for a while, but abandoned it until the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which made it a national standard, except in Hawaii, Arizona (except on the Navajo reservation) and part of Indiana. However, Indiana has since adopted it statewide.

The original idea behind Daylight Saving time was to help the soldiers during war, to allow for more natural light later in the day. It also aided farmers at one time, and it was believed to reduce energy usage by allowing more natural light in the afternoon (thereby reducing electricity use for artificial lighting). Unfortunately, with more advance technologies and more efficient lights, that supposed energy saving has become moot.

Granted, some people would rather see the sun up early in the morning, and some want natural evening light, preferring the sun set later. There have also been scientific studies showing the time change causes health problems, lack of productivity and disruption of circadian rhythms (the natural sleep cycle). Currently in the 21st century, more and more people want to see the end of this insane semiannual clock change. There are those who want permanent Daylight Saving; others want the time left on Standard Time. Still others (like me) don’t give a shit, and just want the madness to end. I personally don’t give a flying fuck which direction the clock goes.🤷‍♂️ I just want the clock left alone in March and November. If the time changes do get repealed, I just want there to be a national standard of time. If the choice gets left to the individual states, we’ll wind up with 50 time zones—every state running a different hour. That will be even more crazy than the bullshit we experience now!🤦‍♂️

Yet another issue to deal with about the whole time change conundrum is the fact that some people in the winter, with less sunlight, especially at night, go through this thing called Seasonal Affective Disorder, a sort of part-time depression. All because somebody thinks they should be in the sun all the time. That person should go live in Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost city of the US at about latitude 71¼° north; by comparison, the Arctic Circle is about 66½° north) during the summer, when the sun doesn’t set at all for several months. Kinda the opposite of now, where between mid-November and mid-January, the sun doesn’t rise at all. That would be so weird, to have sunlight at midnight in the summer, or pitch black at noon in winter.🤯

On a totally unrelated note, since this blog is Ray’s Rants of the Week (and to lighten things up for a second), I’m going to rant about the spelling of arctic/antarctic, and how it bugs the royal shit out of me when people omit the first letter C in the word, just because it’s usually not pronounced. There are two C’s in the word arctic!!! There’s an air-conditioning business in southern Utah that uses the atrociously-misspelled version of arctic for their business name. Whether intentional or not, it bugs the hell out of me to see their van around town. To see “Arctic Air” [sic], sans the first C. I usually can spot a misspelling immediately, and honestly they drive me nuts, but I will usually exercise discretion and bite my tongue about them. On more than one occasion, I’ll see a typo in a news story, and if there’s a “report typo” link, I’ll let them know. I guess I’m just OCD about it.🤷‍♂️

Back to the subject of that arbitrary concept known as time, and the adjustment of the clocks. When I have nothing better to do, I contemplate this: if the DST thing gets abolished, what time frames will advertisers use to remind people to check the batteries in their smoke detectors? I mean, you’d hear all the time “don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks!” I think most people have the intelligence to periodically check their smoke alarm batteries. Thank you anyway.

Hopefully, you weren’t one of the unfortunate people who worked graveyard shift on the night of the time change, having to work an extra hour on your shift. Perhaps you were lucky enough to get that extra hour of sleep, which was so rudely taken from you back in March. It’s “time” that 21st Century America woke up and eliminated the archaic and quite unnecessary nuisance that is changing the clocks to begin and end Daylight Saving Time.

For this week of the winding-down year of 2018, get some sleep, don’t let time run you over, be safe and be well.

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