Daylight Saving Time: A Modest Proposal

Perhaps I should remember my station, and be respectfully silent before the weekend’s mighty display of power and glory.

I am, after all, but one of those who live neither in the Northeast megalopolis nor the shining lands of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Daylight Saving Time — Again — Still

Enough of that ‘umble posturing.

If you live in America, there’s a pretty good chance that you remembered to set your clock back an hour during the weekend. We’ve gone through this routine every year for — too long, I think.

This is where I usually start talking about when this nonsense started, why we did it, and why it’s still a twice-yearly ritual.

Oddly enough, it’s not a spiritual discipline. Not as far as I can tell.

Maybe some folks yank their schedules around to attain enlightenment, achieve oneness with the universe, or inflict pain and suffering on themselves because they’re into that sort of thing.

But that’s not the official reason here, and I’ve yet to meet someone who enjoys self-inflicted jet lag.

Still, it’s a big world. And some folks are strange, even by my standards.

If your life just simply won’t be complete unless you read what assorted government agencies say is going on, or read a Wikipedia page or two, here’s a short list:

The Open Heart paper in PubMed’s online resource may be the most interesting of the lot.

The odds are pretty good that you didn’t enjoy the benefits of a DST-induced acute myocardial infarction last spring.

My guess is that we’re not absolutely, positively sure that the DST jump causes the increase in acute myocardial infarction.

Pinning down the exact metabolic, neurological, and probably psychological and behavioral causes is another set of tasks. I suspect that there must be an iron-clad case before national leaders will consider changing this hallowed custom.

Myocardial infarction is geek-speak for heart attack. Despite the scary name, quite a few folks merely experience pain, nausea, and the occasional loss of consciousness. Long-term consequences can be another matter.

The heart often starts beating again, sometimes before parts of the brain die when the oxygen and nutrients supply runs out.

Properly, or weirdly, considered, it’s an opportunity to skip work. Sometimes permanently.

Death and Election Years

From that viewpoint, death is an even better outcome. No more Daylight Saving Time lunacy, no more election-time angst.

I don’t see it that way, but I’ve learned to live in a sub-optimum society.

I don’t like it, though, and think we could do better. I talk about that a lot.

Some of humanity’s problems may take generations, centuries, to sort out.

I’m pretty sure that Daylight Saving time can be ended pretty fast. The trick will be figuring out what our leaders think they’re doing, and strongly suggest that they stop tormenting us with this particular nonsense.

On the other hand, I read somewhere that having our sleeping schedules yanked around twice a year saves energy. That could be, and saving energy, no matter what the cost, is a belief ardently held in some circles.

Or maybe Daylight Saving Time is all that stands between us and global famine.

It may be even worse. Perhaps ending DST will kill all the cute critters, and cause the seas to rise until Mount Rushmore’s George Washington sinks beneath the waves.

I’m guessing “not.”

I’m pretty sure that the slight reduction in heart attack rates after the fall DST switch doesn’t really balance out spring’s increase.

Of course, I’m a mere layman.

I think avoiding the spring increase in disability and death is a good idea.

Even if it’s just half the year that we’re at higher risk. Maybe I’m missing some subtle point.

But I don’t think so. Death is pretty unsubtle.

On the ‘up’ side, those of us who can’t afford those annual jaunts to Aspen or Cannes get to experience jet lag twice a year.

That’d be a nifty campaign slogan, maybe. “Jet lag to the masses.”

It even makes sense, almost.

Daylight Saving Time: How SADIST Could Make it Worse

Now, my modest proposal; something I first suggested in spring of 2007. I figure it’s time to run this up the flagpole again.

With any luck, someone will think I’m serious — and suggest something that makes more sense. Like dropping DST.

Sure, some other countries have their own versions. But I suspect ‘everyone’s doing it’ isn’t a particularly good excuse.

Enough preamble. Here it is.

Three more ways that changing the clock (and, while we’re at it, the calendar) that could CHANGE OUR QUALITY OF LIFE:

1. Set clocks back 12 hours during August. Keeping people quiet during the day could save enormous amounts of energy that would otherwise be wasted on air conditioning stores and offices.

2. Set clocks back ten hours and forty minutes at noon on April 15. This 10:40 time shift would remind those who wait until the last minute to file tax returns by the date.

It’d also give them more than a full business-day’s-worth of additional time to get their forms in.

Ten hours and forty minutes is a large time shift, so clocks should be set forward one hour and twenty minutes at 2:00 a.m. — For eight days — April 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

The reason should be obvious: to minimize psychological stress.

Although this stress-relieving measure might not save significant amounts of energy, the psychological effects could make a significant difference in quality of life.

“Quality of life” is such a nifty-sounding phrase: you know it’s gotta be a good idea

3. Finally, replace the evening of December 31 with Substance Abuse and Drug Interaction Study Time. The acronym should be easy to remember: SADIST.

SADIST: If At First You don’t Succeed, Threaten

Instead of over-indulging during New Year’s Eve parties, citizens would be encouraged to learn about substance abuse, dangers of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol.

This should reduce deaths in drunk-driving accidents, alleviate the need for expensive security measures in places like New York’s Times Square, and promote sober, healthy lifestyles among the general public.

And if you don’t agree, SADIST activists could say that those who oppose them promote drunkenness, debauchery, and delinquency. Or say they’re drug pushers.

Or terrorists bent on killing billions on New Year’s Eve.

Never mind that there are fewer than eight billion folks living on the planet, most of us nowhere near New York City.

Politics: It Could be Better, But It’s Been Worse

I’ve gotten the impression that logic has very little to do with politics, and even less with real-world analogs to SADIST.

Can’t say that I blame folks running the show for using raw emotion and discouraging logic.

Encouraging the masses to start thinking might — — — actually, I think that’d be a good thing.

It might disrupt ‘business as usual.’ I think that could be a very good thing indeed.

The status quo isn’t particularly peachy these days. I think a growing number of Americans are realizing that.

Experience suggests that hard times aren’t nearly as bad for folks, in our hearts, as ‘good times’ like the late 1940s and 1950s.

I like being an American, mostly, but realize that this isn’t a perfect country.

Wasn’t in my youth, either. What we’ve got now is, in some ways, an improvement.

You see, I remember the ‘good old days.’ And am glad they’re gone. (August 20, 2017)

Getting back to SADIST and irrational appeals, be honest: if you follow political news, you’ve run across something that’s pretty much as sensible as SADIST.

It’s not just ‘those people.’

I’ve still got a few politically-inclined folks in my social media feeds, on several sides. Some of them get pretty vehement. To be polite.

It’s nothing new.

But it’s no incentive for me to wade into that particular sewage lagoon.

Then there’s the French Revolution’s calendar, and that’s another topic, for another day.

More, mostly how I see life and death, health, pleasure and moderation, and getting a grip:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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4 Responses to Daylight Saving Time: A Modest Proposal

  1. I love your take on daylight saving, Brian. I have to admit that I enjoyed the extra hour in bed this October, clock going back an hour…. but losing that hour next year again?!

    • Indeed. And thank you, David. 🙂 Despite the tone I took for this post, I don’t mind Daylight Saving time. Much. The extra hour is nice.

      But I think that of all the irrational customs we’ve been forced to follow, Daylight Saving Time is near the top of the list that those that could be removed without making a significant difference.

      It might actually save a few lives. I think that’s worth thinking about.

  2. irishbrigid says:

    Missing the rest of the sentence: “Long-term consequences are another top”

    ‘Of?’: “last minute to file tax returns of the date.”

    The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Thanks for taking time to comment!