Monday, March 11, 2013

Tie-yi-yi-yime Ain't On My Side

So this morning I had to force myself to crawl out of bed at 5 freakin' a.m. and pretend it was 6. Thanks, Daylight Savings Time! You're the greatest!

Why do we keep allowing this to happen? Why do we let the government turn us all into jet-lagged zombies for a week or so every March? How did this godforsaken practice get started in the first place?

Most credit DST to America's favorite bespectacled founding father Benjamin Franklin, who wrote a letter in 1784 saying that if we all got up with the sun we'd use fewer candles at night. There's two things wrong with that idea: A. Candles and B. He wrote this treatise as a joke while flirting with the ladies in Paris.

The idea didn't even gain acceptance in Franklin's time. It wasn't until World War I (and later WWII) that the practice finally caught on as a way to conserve coal. Yeah, coal. Like back when you had to shovel hunks of coal into the stove in the middle of your living room and huddle around it to keep from freezing to death in your own home. That's patriotic and all, but... I'm pretty sure those wars ended several years ago (Spoiler alert! We won!). We could probably go ahead and stop using those two conflicts as an excuse.

Some say we need to continue DST because of the energy savings as supposedly the earlier we get up in the morning, the less electricity we'll use for lighting in the evening. However, recent studies have shown that the amount of electricity saved by DST is about 1%. That's nowhere near enough to make it worth plunging your face in a sink full of ice water in an effort to try and wake yourself after getting up an hour earlier.

So much for the so-called benefits of DST. Are there any downsides other than falling asleep at your desk the first week after the time change? There are indeed. Studies show that traffic accidents spike the Monday after the DST switch, as motorists try to catch a few winks behind the wheel. I have no problem believing this, as I saw 2, count 'em two wrecks this morning within a couple miles of one another.

I'm tempted to just say "screw all y'all" and leave my clocks alone, functioning on my own personal time. Besides dulling my senses for a week, I've got a lot of clocks in my house and I've got better things to do than spend a couple hours changing them. Sure I'll be an hour late to work every day until November but that's a small price to pay for my freedom from chronal oppression. Descendit cum tempore!

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