Next Sunday is the start of daylight savings time, in which we “spring” forward, losing an hour’s sleep, in 48 of our 50 states (Already!?!). Hawaii is a holdout, along with other island possessions, like Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands, who remain year round on “island time,” which translates to “I’ll show up eventually.” Parts of Arizona do not observe this odd tradition, presumably those sections not in the desert, since with all the other locations, there seems to be some mysterious tie to water. Parts of Indiana used to observe daylight savings, but they do not anymore, because legislators got drunk one night, and couldn’t remember why they didn’t approve it in the first place.
Benjamin Franklin originally conceived daylight savings time (or summertime) in 1784 after a night in a Philadelphia tavern drinking grog with friends who had invented the oil lamp. Wenches may have been involved too, but it’s not in the public record. The idea was to make better use of the longer summer daylight hours and thus save energy by not burning oil, or in modern times, electricity. Because as we well know, in the winter, daylight is much shorter, lasting roughly from 11 am until 2pm, unless you live in Alaska or near the equator. Of course everything was shorter back in Ben Franklin’s day, such as beds and clean linen…Ben himself was only 5′ 9.”
Did you know 70 other countries observe daylight savings time in addition to the U.S.A.? Even Iraq changes time between the beginning of April and the end of October and it had nothing to do with our imperialist war there, our troop withdrawal, or the lack of sanitary toilet facilities…and they own several oil fields.
Despite a flood of telemarketing calls trying to get us all to install insanely expensive solar panels, and solve the energy problem over night…we once again give up an hour and exercise the high-tech technique of moving the clock hour hand ahead one number. Call me skeptical…I get the idea of longer daylight hours in the summer and saving energy, but what difference does it make when the daylight hours start or stop? Not everybody works or starts the workday at 8am. Retirees don’t even have a minute or hour hand on their watches…it just says Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. And not only lights use electricity. What about the Internet, TV or the microwave? We use those 24 hours a day & night.
Call me anti-progressive, but I wish Ben had minded his own business…and I want my hour back…before October. Excuse me now, I have to go light my Ben Franklin stove with a $100 bill…
* * *
Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “Drafted,” and the soon to be released, “Identity Check.” https://www.facebook.com/richallan64.