Tom Purcell: Never time for daylight saving
It's a week away and I'm already dreading it.
Next Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m., daylight saving time, the practice of moving our clocks forward one hour in the spring and backward one hour in the fall, will commence.
When I wake on March 11 at my regular time — which will depend on the pub I was drowning my sorrows at the night before — I will be short by one hour.
I will be in a stupor, for the most part, until November, when I must set my clocks back one hour — at which time I will officially resume my perpetual confusion about what the heck time it is.
Come next Sunday, half the clocks in my house — those that have been off by an hour since November — will display the correct time again.
But the other half, which have displayed the correct time since November, will be wrong again.
Thus, when I have business meetings or social engagements to attend, I'll be either one hour late or one hour early, but rarely on time.
Daylight saving time was first implemented in Thunder Bay, Canada, in 1908. The goal was to squeeze an extra hour of daylight out of a typical day.
The United States first adopted the concept in 1918, but, reports TimeandDate.com , without uniform rules across all states, it resulted in widespread chaos in commerce and transportation.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 addressed that challenge by aligning the switch dates across the country.
In an effort to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo, Congress changed DST dates — then changed them again in 1976.
From 1987 to 2006, the country observed yet another set of DST changes — which changed one more time in 2007, to our current March-and-November cycle.
Millions of Americans have been befuddled ever since.
I think a grand conspiracy is under way in which clear-headed “morning people” are attempting to use DST to swindle those of us who struggle with mental clarity until nighttime.
I think Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts are in collusion.
Starbucks coffee has always been ridiculously expensive, but et tu , Dunkin'? I got a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee recently that was just shy of Starbucks' exorbitant iced-coffee cost.
I suspect price-fixing. I suspect Big Coffee is bribing federal officials to keep adjusting DST rules, so that we are groggy and grumpy, the essential conditions that allow it to fleece us.
Where is Special Counsel Robert Mueller when you need him?
In any event, an endless DST debate continues.
Proponents of DST say it gives us more daylight in spring and summer, which gets us out of the house and makes us happier.
Opponents say it makes spring and summer mornings darker, which makes us less productive at work most of the year. They also say it causes us to consume more energy.
I'm unable to participate in the conversation, because I haven't yet finished my pot of coffee.
As I see it, if DST is going to keep us forever disoriented, why adjust our clocks forward and backward by only one hour?
Why not move them forward to 2030 so I can begin collecting Social Security — or backward to 1984, when I had a 29-inch waist and was far better able to persuade “out-of-my-league” ladies to go out with me?
Whatever the case, my mother is especially worried about my difficulty adjusting to DST changes. She jokes that I'll be late for my own funeral.
Or an hour early.
Tom Purcell, a freelance writer, lives in Library. His books include “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery. Visit him on the web at TomPurcell.com. Email him at: Tom@TomPurcell.com.