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A farmer walked into the house after completing his chores, sat down, wrinkled his brow and became pensive. “What are you thinking?” asked his wife. “I’m trying to figure out where I can find all the daylight I saved when I set the clocks back last November,” he said.
March 8 is the day we express solidarity with Benjamin Franklin, who instituted daylight saving time. Ben should have known that DST does not save daylight, but moves clocks around. Nevertheless, on this occasion, and in accord with the old adage “spring ahead, fall back,” we will spring our clocks ahead one hour, costing us an hour of sleep — and for stay−outs, longer, lighter evenings.
All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that. — Baltasar Gracian
But the annual ritual of daylight saving time is a battle between city dwellers and golfers, who favor daylight saving, and rural folk, who do not. It always ends in a tie because the number of Americans who live on farms (the irresistible force) is about the same number who are permanent residents of golf−course communities (the unmovable object). The clash is coming.
My loins are girded for the identical Inquisition I was put through last year by my grandchildren: “Why do we have daylight saving time, Gramps?” Justin will ask. After a few moments of thought, I will say, “Because it gives farmers an extra hour in the field during spring harvest.” “But we live in Queens and there aren’t too many farmers living here,” Brendan will counter.
“Where does the missing hour go?” Keri will ask, and then answer her own question. “The government grabs it. They take everything else that isn’t nailed down.”
Finally, Aaron will say, “My Mom hides it. She wants me in bed a little earlier, so she can get some peace and quiet for a change.”
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. — Rabindranath Tagore
I had to learn more about the why and where of DST, so I researched and discovered that Franklin was the first to put forward the idea in 1784 while living in Paris. He decided if there was more daylight, he would not have to buy as many candles. That notion percolated around Europe for 133 years; it was adopted as law in most countries in 1916.
In America, it was adopted in 1918, but vetoed the next year and made into a local option. DST was used in both world wars to conserve energy for the military effort.
Most people do not mind setting their clocks ahead on Saturday night. They make up the hour’s sleep in church.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt reinstituted DST as an energy−saving measure during World War II, but it was not made a national law until 1966, except in places that decided to exempt themselves from the requirement. That is why Indiana, Arizona and Hawaii never fidget with their clocks. I hope that clears everything up.
Gosh, now I can meet my grandkids with confidence and show them how informed I am about DST.
Readers, did you know farmers actually do not like the clock−changing, since their schedules are tied to the sunrise? Their chickens, after all, do not observe DST.
Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go. — Henry Austin Dobson
Every year, when DST arrives, it takes me longer to reset my clocks because there are too many. It used to be I only had to reset my wristwatch and alarm clock. Now there are clocks everywhere: the answering machine, fax, printer, microwave, TV, VCR, etc. Why do these machines think I need to know the time? One positive is the newer, automatic contraptions know about DST and reset themselves.
But I have one more question: If DST is so great, why don’t we have it all year long?
It takes time to save time. — Joe Taylor
DST has been adopted by over 1 billion people in about 70 countries. Are they all really looking forward to resetting their clocks twice annually? But DST does prevent traffic accidents, reduces crime, help trick−or−treaters safely across the street and provide millions of gardeners, soccer players and backyard barbecuers an additional hour in the sun.
A suggestion: While changing your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detector so everybody will be here Nov. 1, when we “fall back.”
Contact Alex Berger at email@example.com.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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