A few days ago I noticed Mrs. Dim at work in her garage. She was undertaking an odd carpentry project. She had ten six-foot 2×4 boards. One by one, she sawed six inches off the right end of each board as it lay on the sawhorses, and immediately she glued the six-inch piece of wood to the left end of the same board.
I usually don’t like to talk to Mrs. Dim while she is working on a project. In fact, I usually don’t like to talk to Mrs. Dim at all. Curiosity got the best of me, though, and I went out to ask her what she was doing. With a look on her face and a tone in her voice that communicated, “Isn’t it obvious?” she answered my question with these words, “I’m saving wood.”
I didn’t ask any more questions. I didn’t want to know any more answers. As Americans prepare to change their clocks again this weekend, observing a tradition we call “Daylight Saving Time,” I wonder how much daylight will be saved this year. I also wonder what other silly things Americans might to just because our government tells us we should do them.
The last few days the sun has already been in the sky when my alarm woke me. It was easier to get out of bed and start the day in daylight. Next week it will be dark when my alarm wakes me.
In some parts of the country the sun will not reach high noon until 1:30 in the afternoon.
The cats will not understand why the family bed times and meal times have suddenly changed. It will take them a week or two to adjust to the new schedule. In fact, it will take all of us a week or two to adjust to the new schedule. Then, in November, we can adjust our schedules again.
At least the government has put the change of clocks in the first half of March. When I was younger, we changed our clocks on the first weekend of April. Often that first day of Daylight Saving Time was Easter Sunday. Getting up early for the sunrise service was made even harder with one less hour to the night.
Daylight saving time was first instituted during the Great War, also known as World War I. This clearly shows the connection between the practice of Daylight Saving Time and governments generally doing foolish and harmful things. Congress ended Daylight Saving Time after the end of the war, only to have it reinstated during World War II. Again, the practice was suspended after the war, only to reappear once again in the 1960s, when Americans were doing a lot of other strange things. In the 1970s and 1980s Americans tried to save daylight all year long, but the country chose to waste daylight during the winter beginning in 1986, shortening the wasteful period by five weeks in 2007.
I do not feel as if I have been wasting daylight since last November. How changing my clock this weekend will save any daylight is beyond my comprehension. I will do it, of course, because my employers do it and my neighbors do it and the television stations do it. Even the church does it. A few people will forget, though, and will show up during the closing hymn. At least the service they miss won’t be the Easter service.
When, oh when, will madness end? J.