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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Since the dawn of time (or rather, since the dawn of MY time) I have known that two times annually we change our clocks to observe Daylight Savings Time. In the fall we "fall" back. In the spring, we "spring" forward. Most people get depressed about the fall back part because it coincides with Halloween and there being less hours of light in a day. Most of the very same people, however, look forward to the extra hours of daylight in spring because this makes the day feel longer in some way.

And this concludes all that I truly know about daylight savings time.

Like clockwork (no pun intended) we as American people have observed this rule twice a year for ages with the noted exception of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas. I'm not really sure what those people do, but if they have nothing to remember and time marches on, maybe they're the ones that have it right.

Since Daylight Savings Time is something I've blindly observed all of my life, I realized I actually knew very little about how it came to be. Leave it to Wikipedia to correct my ignorance for me. Apparently Daylight Savings Time first started as a joke made by good ol' Ben Franklin back in 1784. At the time, he was talking out loud about how nice it would be to get up earlier and use more light, thus conserving more energy in the evening. Of course Benny just put it out there as a "what if" type of scenario. Little did he know what he had started. I know many of us have wished there could be more hours in a day now for years or even wished for robots to do our laundry for us. Now you know. Anything is possible. All ya gotta do is dream big.

From there, Daylight Savings Time (or DST) was actually first formally proposed by a man named William Willett back in 1907. I wish I could say the reason was for the common good and a miraculous one at that. Instead it seems Willett was just a golfer who wanted to have more hours of daylight to perfect his game. So you see, selfish means always ran the world, even way back then.

Of course while most of the American public (along with other parts of the world) observed this trend, not everyone followed suit. If everyone did everything the same see, that would make things easy. But we as humans are complicated people and so we do things differently. This is why Genesis called this the Land of Confusion.

But now, just like anything else, the people decided that this system was no longer the most convenient for them. So for the first time in decades, a law was passed making it possible to move DST up a few weeks in the spring. The justification I presume is to squeeze more daylight in, more productivity out and perhaps, most importantly, more time to plan well lit outdoor recreational activities.

Now call me crazy, but I've had a very hard time wrapping my head around this change. This is precisely why I decided to write about it and research it, in the hopes that somehow, someway I could make better sense of it. I understand the why's behind why we did it, I guess I'm still stuck a bit on the how's.

See I always thought that we changed the clocks because of Mother nature, not the other way around. For instance, I thought that the sun's pattern changed in late March and late October and thus, that's why our clocks followed suit. I thought we were simply following a world calendar, much bigger than scheduling a to-do list on say, a Palm Pilot.

But now I'm being told that simply isn't the case at all. We as collective human beings have the power to change when we change time. We are changing time now to get more daylight out of our lives, but I had a hard time understanding this because I wasn't taking into consideration the changing of the time itself. I was wondering how we could simply "get more" out of daylight whenever we wanted to. Even now, while I'm beginning to understand it a bit better, I still worry about the decision.

And what about falling back? If everyone hates falling back so much and getting up when it's dark out and having nighttime come more quickly, why do we observe that all? Why not spring forward this one last time and be done with it? There. You have more daylight, period. Whether you're playing golf or building a snowman, time is on your side, literally.

And really why stop there? You want 25 hours in a day? Done! You would like to be in two places at once? Why not! The possibilities really are endless.

All you gotta do is give us time to accomplish them.



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