We all know it’s time to “fall back,” or set clocks an hour earlier Sunday. This is an old-fashioned way of saying “relax while all your Apple products automatically reset.”
We know the implications, too. It means our babies, dogs, parakeets and lawnmowers will start screeching earlier. Our evening walks will be in the dark. It will take days, nay, weeks for our bodies to adjust, all while fighting off seasonal affective disorder. This, conveniently, coincides with the holiday season, which is not a stressful time at all!
There’s the basic information. But are you fine knowing the bare minimum? I thought so. I will tell you more anyway.
The first thing to know is that daylight savings time is actually daylight SAVING time, with no extra “S.” You should obnoxiously correct anyone who says it incorrectly, which is everyone.
How do I know? It happened to me. And once someone is obnoxious to you, it is your civic duty to pay it forward. It’s how you drive through Starbucks and a person has paid for your drink, and now you have to *&^&$#@ do it, too, except the person behind you spent $34 on breakfast sandwiches and seasonal drinks, and you ordered just a tea.
We’re not going to be in daylight saving time; we are leaving it and going back to “standard time,” which runs through mid-March and is less sexy. Research shows people reply to standard time party invites with, “We have another thing, but maybe we’ll swing by!”
Efforts to end standard time in Florida and other states have lumbered along. I will quote Tampa Bay Times reader R.O. Plummer of Palm Harbor, who recently asked: “When is Sen. Marco Rubio going to put a stop to that? He says he’s working on it. How difficult could it be?”
I don’t know. It seems difficult, but that’s why I am not a senator (also the long hours, suits, moral compromises). It requires an act of Congress. I personally believe Congress does not want to give up the mental image of Rubio angrily winding a grandfather clock, holding a lantern and wearing a long, woolen sleeping cap.
Instead of looking for solutions, let’s look for someone to blame.
Travel to 1918, another awful pandemic year. The U.S. copied Europe and introduced daylight saving time as a way to save coal during World War I. We didn’t use the time change again until the next war. So, we must blame Franklin D. Roosevelt, and war.
Why can’t states just do what they want? That’s the American vibe. Well, an act from 1966 lets states and territories permanently opt OUT of daylight saving time but not IN. Do you follow? Neither do I. Ask Hawaii, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands, ‘cause they have figured it out.
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Civilizations have messed with clocks since the dawn of industry, usually to squeeze more work out of people. And getting rid of standard time won’t solve all our problems. It would make winter mornings really dark; consider school safety, traffic accidents, how our hair looks.
I expect passionate letters on both sides, like when I recently wrote that candy corn is gross. But maybe we need to ask ourselves, what is time? When we go backward on Sunday, will we permanently alter the future? Will 6:30 a.m. us make the same decisions as 7:30 a.m. us? Can we live with the fallout?
This leads to my next point. Wouldn’t George and Lorraine McFly recognize the guy who brought them together at the dance? Their son, Marty? In the following essay...
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