Saving Daylight, Borrowing Trouble
God saw that light was good and he separated light from darkness. God called the light day and he called the darkness night. Genesis 1: 4,5
Does anybody know what time it is ?
Does anybody really care ?
If so I can’t imagine why
We’ve all got time enough to cry. Chicago, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is ? “ (1969)
I would like to know what kind of a goddam govment this is which discriminates between two economic carriers and makes a goddam railroad charge everybody equal and lets a godam man charge any goddam price he wants for his goddam opera box ?
Mark Twain, unsent letter to the Editor of the New York Times.
It is said that time waits for no man, and I suppose that if you live in Indiana or Arizona that may be true. For those of us in the other forty eight states, however, time waited an hour for us between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the government giving us back the hour it had stolen from us in the spring when Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Now some may think that that it is rather arrogant of the United States government to tell God what time it is, after all, it was God who invented time, right ? Well, not really, God separated the day from the night, but he left all of the subdividing after that pretty much up to us. We are the ones who came up with the sixty minute minutes and the twenty four hour days. There were any number of ways we could have divided time up, some perhaps better than what we chose. I have never understood why the Europeans did not institute a “metric “ system of time with everything divided up into tens. It is still something that the E.U. might take up, once they have weaned Great Britain from the Pound and got them on the Euro.
This Day Light Savings Time was really economic in origin, was really pushed upon us by the warlords and capitalists running the country who wanted to squeeze an extra hour of production out of the masses during World War II. This did not affect the actual soldiers fighting the battles very much, since they tended to work around the clock and shoot when shot at or told to shoot. Also, in the army they use all that “24 hundred hour” stuff which they use a lot in Europe. I don’t know what Day Light Savings time does to that, maybe it gets them back to 2395, I simply don’t know. Just like I don’t know what Newfoundland does since they are always an additional half hour ahead of every one else
Then, for reasons I never figured out, Daylight Savings Time came roaring back in the 60s as part and parcel with Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”. The worst use of Daylight Savings time came in the winter of 1973-74 when Richard Nixon used it to combat the first oil crisis, brought on by the October War in the Middle East. This idiocy was lampooned in a famous cartoon at the time, showing several small children waiting in dark freezing weather for a school bus. The caption read, “I’d impeach him for Daylight Savings time alone.”
After Nixon resigned, we went back to normal Daylight Savings time until George W. Bush directed that it be extended to about eight months a year because this would save the taxpayers billions of dollars. I never understood how this worked either, and I also don’t understand why, if it does work, we don’t just whittle down the national debt by extending Daylight Savings Time to twelve months a year and maybe spring forward two hours, instead of one each April. That sounds to me like it would end the recession. That was the problem with Bush, he had some decent ideas, he was just not bold enough in carrying them out. If Cheney had been running the country, he’d have sprung forward to whatever it took to balance the budget. The current President is not going to do that, but I understand that he is working on a plan which will allow us to “borrow” time. This will be great for us, but will certainly be no treat for our grandchildren who will have to figure out a way to pay the time back. By the year 2075, I understand, that there would be only about eight minutes of sunlight left per day under the Obama plan ,as presently configured.
Politics aside, that first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time is glorious every year. It would be even better if the nation’s retailers would all get together and open an hour earlier with Daylight Savings “sales”. The retailers have already made sales days out of almost all major holidays and taken those holidays away from their employees, why not stick them with just one more extra hour of work a year. What are they going to do during this downturn ? Quit ?
So, time marches on. We will continue to screw around with its increments forever, or at least until 2012 when the Aztec calendar and the world may come to an end. So enjoy it while you can. You may only get three more years of that extra hour of sun !