By Mike Wilcox
I’m not a proponent of daily saving time. In fact I think it’s downright archaic- once utilized for a time when it might have made sense. In today’s world it makes no sense, at least to this “early to bed, early to rise” writer.
In my household, “early to rise” usually means around 5 a.m. It could very well be 6 a.m. but the family pets have deemed 5 a.m. as the time the household must make their way to the shower. Now since we were told we have to spring forward by one hour, 5 a.m. now becomes 4 a.m.
Losing that hour of sleep does not make me happy. Having awakened at 4 a.m. makes me downright grumpy. Driving to work in pitch darkness is no fun either, particularly when you know there is a deer or two lurking in the shadows just waiting to dash in front of your vehicle.
Then there’s always the confusion as to when the changeover is to occur. It used to be later in March, but now those that keep our time, decided to change to daylight saving time in early March. And then there is social media. Yahoos everywhere have been posting the time change for every Sunday for the last month.
Idiot me actually believed that the time changed a week before it actually did. There I was, up at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, assuming that the time had changed. I didn’t figure it out until late afternoon. I felt so stupid.
I guess, however, confusion has always been the norm when it comes to daylight saving. Here’s a few confusing facts about daylight saving:
1. Notice I have been using the term “daylight saving” and not the more common terminology “daylight savings.” Most people use the latter but grammatically, “saving” acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb, thus the singular use is correct.
2. Benjamin Franklin is often erroneously given credit for inventing daylight saving time. Franklin, however did propose changing sleep schedules to save the use of candles, but not time itself.
3. Englishman William Willett spent his personal fortune attempting to get the English clocks moved forward 80 minutes in the summer back in the early 20th Century. Parliament however, wouldn’t hear of it, and Willett died in 1915, without seeing his mission come to fruition.
4. A year later, however, Germany adopted daylight saving time to conserve electricity during wartime. How ironic that Britain’s enemy adopted Willett’s passion before his homeland.
5. Daylight saving time was not intended to benefit farmers, like most of us believe. Actually farmers fought against it. Farmers thought the sun not the clock dictated their schedules, so daylight saving time was very disruptive. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules.
6. For decades daylight saving was a confusing mish-mash depending on what city or state you were located in. In fact Time Magazine in 1963 called the practice a “chaos of clocks.” In 1965 there were 23 different pairs of start and end dates in Iowa alone. Passengers on a 35-mile bus ride in Ohio passed through seven time changes. Order finally came in 1966 when the Uniform Time Act was passed by Congress.
7. To this day however, Hawaii and Arizona and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa do not observe daylight saving time. Worldwide, only one-quarter of the world’s population observes.
Maybe the other three-quarters know something we don’t. I seriously believe it is time our leaders take a look at eliminating the useless time change.