EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave Perry’s regular and endless rant, updated.
Sure, rightfully and righteously wail on craven state and federal lawmakers for cowering from issues such as immigration, health care and global warming.
But we all know what spineless legislators fear most: ending the biannual Daylight Saving Time seesaw.
Gone are most of those brave enough in Colorado and Congress willing to slay the state’s regular move from Mountain Daylight Saving Time to Mountain Standard Time, and other time zone bombs across the country.
In Colorado, there have been a short list of state lawmakers brave enough to assess our annual moving of the clocks ahead and back — and back, again, and again — and say, “this is really stupid.” But they’ve all failed to find the votes of reason to end one of America’s dumbest ideas ever.
In Congress? Even worse. So, we begin again, in the dark, at 5 p.m.
In the giant encyclopedia of incredibly stupid things humans have inflicted on themselves and this planet — which boasts such notable feats as Chernobyl, Donald Trump and cappuccino-flavored potato chips — daylight saving time rises to the top of the list of heinous gaffes.
To understand how stupid the idea really is, you have to hearken back to a time when people did things because it was practical, and because being impractical often made you lunch for something else, face down in a river or tied to other unlucky humans building pyramids for some jerk with way too much eyeliner. Because people tended to get eaten or otherwise accosted in the dark, it was practical to avoid going out in it. And as people formed communities and taverns that opened and closed at particular hours, it became necessary to know how long until last call, and when morning-shift happy hour began.
So humans invented clocks. The first ones were sundials. This gets a little nerdy here, but the gist is that ancient Egyptians had a thing for “12,” just like modern Germans jones over “10.” Way-old timers identified 12 stars moving across the sky after sunset that marked the night. After several hundred years of refinement, voila, the 24-hour day was created. It wasn’t fancy, but it helped people know when to meet to watch mastodon demolition derbies, or something like that. In the summer, near the equinox, the shadow on the dial would point straight up at noon.
That’s important, Noon. Straight up. Mid-point of a 12-hour period of daylight. Simple and practical. If it’s noon, it’s four hours until two-for-one Egyptian honey wine at the CornerStone Pub and Pyramid. Within a few hundred years, we were all winding clocks and watches to let us know when to get to the bank to cover last night’s hot check before it got there.
Then came electric light, full-time jobs and The Great War. Germans (it’s always something with them) invented the game of moving the clocks ahead in an effort to conserve energy needed to generate electricity. Of course then we had to do the same thing. After the Great War, when the Germans went back to pouting and inventing other stuff, we all forgot about daylight saving time, because it was ridiculous, and we love us some electric light in this country.
Then the Germans started up again, this time inventing World War II, and we all needed more of everything and decided we could get it if we just moved the clocks ahead one hour in the spring. A lot of things didn’t make much sense about World War II, and this was one of them. So the war ends and the Germans go back to making killer trochen riesling and kicking our butts with their cars and skis, but we don’t shake off the daylight saving time. If it’s any consolation, we didn’t get rid of lame dad pants, either — another heinous human blunder.
Rather than scrap this ridiculous notion of “saving daylight,” we institutionalize the damned thing. We say it saves energy, which several studies show it clearly does not. We say that we keep at it to appease the farmers, which is a lie. Farmers are smart, rational people. They don’t care if you call it Work-Thirty. When the sun’s up, there’s farming to be done.
And so for the past 60 years, we’ve been dragging this useless boat anchor all over the calendar, saying that we’re all too vacuous or too OCD to go back to having the celestial dog wag the intervallic tail.
I would prefer that we just keep standard time year-round, because I’m old and tend to doze before the dusk fades at the end of June, but I support anything that ends something inflicted on me because state and federal lawmakers love them some hand-wringing while most of us just want to stay on schedule.
I want my hour back in the spring, and I’m lost with this longer trip around the clock today. I’ll support any lawmaker’s quest to get it. Stand strong, because another change and another legislative election is coming, Tuesday. Make this your voting touchstone so we can get some sleep. Together we can beat the clock.
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