Editor’s Note: This was the post I kicked off my Prompt the Squirrel II series with two years ago on the subject of Daylight Savings Time. I reblogged it this weekend last year, and am reposting it for a third time as we once again go through that ritual of ridiculousness that attempts to cheat time. This is one of the best damn posts I’ve ever written, so sit back, relax, and enjoy your “extra hour of daylight” by finding out just what kind of a crock of shit it really is!
It’s the season premiere you’ve been waiting a whole entire week for! Welcome to the beginning of Season Two of my Prompt the Squirrel series… MMXVI style! The Nest dipped into its nonexistent Redbubble shop funds and hired a professional movie poster maker to add that nifty II to the logo to make everything legit! So far I’ve gotten 12 prompts from my faithful readers out there… a big thank you so far to everyone on this year’s waiting list! There’s still plenty of time for me to badger the rest of you to do the hipster thing and donate a prompt for PTS2. If you haven’t entered yet, go here and use the contact form to get in on the fun all the cool kids are having. I’ll be more than happy to do this Friday thing for as long as you keep inspiring me with your suggestions!
For the very first prompt of PTS’s sophomore season, I chose a timely submission from Quirky Girl… a blogger I stumbled across last year while looking for unicorns. Yes, that statement is an actual fact. True to her name, her weekly posts are quite warped and humorous and you should definitely check her out! So, what did she ask of this squirrel with her one wish?
How much does daylight savings suck? Let us count the ways…
Boy, we’re gonna need a hell of a lot of fingers and toes for this exercise!!!
I’ve actually written before about the unnecessary biannual mindfuck known as Daylight Savings Time in the US and Summer Time in other places… and am more than on record with how much of a useless waste of effort and stress it is on our nation. Not surprisingly, the concept of trying to manipulate time is rather modern…. having first been proposed a little over 100 years ago, and not enacted on a nationwide basis anywhere until Germany and Austria-Hungary adopted it as a wartime measure in 1916. Heck, our need to have standardized time has only existed for less than a couple of centuries now. That dates back to the invention of railroad as a mode of transportation in the 19th century, as early railroad companies needed a universal concept of marking time so that passengers could note how behind schedule they were running…
Well, if we are going to count the ways DST is like a concrete enema, we may as well start with the obvious….
Reason Number One: We Got Rhythm
Even the most impulsive and non-habitual people in the world unconsciously live life to the beat of our inner circadian rhythms. Yanking an hour out of March to duct tape to November is the perfect way to bring all the joys of jet lag to even those who never leave the house. Since the magical DST resetting times fall in the middle of the night on Sunday mornings, it’s our sleep patterns that take the biggest hit. And I can assure you that for those of us who regularly work during the time change, adjusting to magical 23 and 25 hour days is no easier… because even us overnight shifters have our routines, and that loss or gain of an hour is going to weasel its way into our life somewhere along the line to remind us why manmade concepts of time suck ass… especially when they are conceived and enforced by government officials we mistakenly elected…
Reason Number Two: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
And does anybody really care? Yes, we do. Kinda the whole reason we came up hours and minutes and seconds is so we can keep track of the duration of things. That’s really fucking hard to do when 1:59 suddenly becomes 3:00, or even better, when it just becomes 1:00 all over again…
I have worked almost every Saturday night since 1998, and have only had one time change night off in the last 18 years. Since I am an hourly grunt, I have to punch a clock… a clock that has no idea how long I actually worked on those nights. This breakdown in timekeeping logic makes HR people who haven’t had to manually keep track of working hours since dinosaurs quit punching timecards have to somehow figure out how to properly credit our time and pay us appropriately. Needless to say, this rarely works out right. The frightening thing of course is how everything from your car to your toilet to your iron lung runs on computerized technology now. While we freaked out over the Y2K fauxpocalypse 16 years ago, we experience mini-Y2K’s twice a year thanks to DST rendering our timekeeping devices to be blithering idiots…
Reason Number Three: We’re All Fucking Time Slaves
The main reason Daylight Savings Time even exists is because people have a preference for wanting more daylight hours in the evening. Having the sun still be out at 8 PM when we might want to sit out on the patio and share our nuts with the squirrels makes much more sense than having it up and shining at 5 AM and disturbing your sleep through the cat-slashed blinds.
Why in the name of Your Deity of Choice should we give a rat’s ass what “time” the sun is out? For countless millennia, humans have lived their knuckle-dragging lives around the rising and the setting of the sun. Pretty much all of our animal friends still keep time the old fashioned way as well. If we’re so concerned about the fact that we sleep away too many sunny hours in the morning, why not just adjust our schedules as the year progresses? Hell, one of the trends in the workplace is “summer hours” that borrow Friday hours and distribute them throughout the week… so why not adjust work and school times gradually throughout the year to account for changing sunrise times?
Warren G. Harding is not on Mount Rushmore, and his scandal filled, two year Presidency is not looked upon highly by political historians. But the man knew what a fucking crock of shit Daylight Savings Time was. When his predecessor Woodrow Wilson tried (and failed) twice to veto the end of the US’s temporary DST due to World War I, Harding offered no resistance at all when he took office, and in fact ordered that all government employees in DC would have to work from 8-4 during the summer rather than inconvenience the entire nation with more clock winding. Forget Herbert Hoover, we could use a man like Warren G. Harding again…
Reason Number Four: The Clock Shop Operator’s Nightmare
Here is a real search term that I received on my blog in 2014 that I answered thusly in that year’s Sandy Awards…
did we lose a couple of minutes during this year’s daylight saving time change? – Yes we did… the couple of minutes it took us to set all of our fucking clocks an hour back.
While computers and smartphones will reset themselves even if we do forget to check the batteries in our smoke detectors and vibrators, our $10 digital alarm clocks and the creepy cat clock with the eyes that go back and forth you inherited from Grandma will not. Nor will that wristwatch you’re wearing, if you’re all into quaint stuff like that. What a major pain in the goddamn ass to have to go through twice a year just so some plus-foured asshole can enjoy a 7:30 PM round of golf…
Reason Number Five: We Love The Night Life
You know who one of the major opponents of DST is? Businesses that make their money after dark. By pushing the sunset time an hour later in the day, many people are going to start getting tuckered out by the time the neon starts lighting up the night. TV Networks see their ratings plummet during the summer for reasons other than their shitty reality shows. Is it a coincidence that drive-in movie theaters started to become dinosaurs after universal DST was implemented in the US in 1966? And what about the venerable and respected adult entertainment industry? Do you want to cut into this woman’s profits just to save a damn kilowatt or two?
Reason Number Six: What In The Hell Are We Saving Anyway?
DST’s existence is often justified by the massive amount of energy it helps save by forcing the sunlight into more of your waking hours. Too bad most of the studies that have been done in the DST era say that’s a steaming load of bullshit. Despite the fact that every DST change in America has been tied to an energy policy, those laws end up being about as effective as any others Congress passes because the facts say we end up using the same amount, if not even more energy regardless of how we manipulate our clocks. Throw in the well known fact that there are more vehicular accidents, suicides and possum attacks in the week following Daylight Savings Time going into effect, and just how is DST actually making our world a better place?
Reason Number Seven: People Are Fucking Stupid
Over the weekend, there was an ad that was airing on Mecca Radio advising customers on how they could enjoy their “extra hour of daylight.” Sadly, many people really do believe that DST magically keeps the sun above the horizon for an extra 60 minutes each day rather than just timefuck us into actually being awake during more of the daylight hours. You only need to look at your local TV listings or the latest Presidential candidate poll to see how stupid Americans already are…. do we really need our pathetic timekeeping practices to add to our Mensa resumes?
I’m sure there are many more reason why Daylight Savings Time needs to die an excruciating, torturous, bloody and gory death… but my word count is already getting way up there, and you just might need that extra hour of daylight to actually finish this post. So thanks again to Quirky Girl for helping kick off the second season of Prompt the Squirrel with this most excellent suggestion, and I’ll spring forward to answer another one of your prompts next Friday!