Daylight Savings Time Doesn’t Save Daylight


Last Saturday night we all moved our clocks back an hour, as we do every fall. It was great news for the Saturday night revelers, as they got an extra hour to drink and snort themselves awesome, not so great news for the bartenders serving them, or those of us with young kids who get up when they get up, no matter what the clock says.

It was already getting dark earlier and earlier before the clock turned back an hour, marking the end of “Daylight Savings Time,” so now we can look forward to the sun being all the way down tonight at 4:30pm. (I guess it’ll also be light out at 6:30 tomorrow morning, which is good for milkmen and farmers, I guess.)

It’s always struck me as strange that we can just change the time. The idea that the government can just get together and decide that it wants the clock to say 6pm when it’s really 7, or vice versa, seems a bit draconian, the kind of thing that libertarians and tea party types forever hollering about totalitarian dictatorship ought to have a problem with. You mean the GOVERNMENT can just CHANGE THE TIME — the one absolutely universal commodity known to every plant and animal on this planet — because the farmers want it to stay light longer in the summer? OVERREACH! FASCISM! SOCIALISM! DEFINITELY SOME KIND OF -ISM!

Every year about this time, someone mentions that there’s a county in Ohio or somewhere that does not observe Daylight Savings Time, and while those folks’ adherence to principle is admirable, it raises numerous questions about the practicality of such a stand. Do they have two clocks over the bank (you know, the one in the town square) — one for locals and one for out-of-towners? Are people traveling to town on business just doomed to be an hour late (or early) for everything?

As much as I hate the way Daylight Savings Time is done now, I think the idea of manipulating the time is potentially a good one. The problem is that at present, we’re doing it totally wrong.

In the summertime, the days are longer than in the winter. The sun rises earlier and sets later. So why are we changing the clocks in the spring (Spring Forward!) to make them even longer? Shouldn’t something called Daylight Savings Time actually, you know, save daylight? The daylight needs saving in the winter, not the summer.

And why when it’s getting dark earlier and earlier are we changing the clocks in the fall (Fall Back!) to make it get dark at 4pm? If we can change the time to any time we want, shouldn’t we at least use that power to our advantage? It should be Spring Back, Fall Forward, not the other way around.

And why stop at doing it twice a year? We should change the time every 6 weeks or so, so that sunset (or sunrise, but I’d prefer sunset, I’m not a morning person) is at roughly the same time every day, all year long. I’d vote for 7:30 sunsets all year round.

And if we can change the clock, can we change the calendar, too? I have no problem at all with a 5-day work week, but I really feel I’d come in on Mondays loaded for bear and raring to go if every weekend were three days. Can we add another weekend day, maybe call it Sununday?

Either way, despite my ambivalence about Daylight Savings Time as currently implemented and the fact that it’ll be dark out before I leave the office today, I am glad the clocks went back an hour on Sunday, because the clock in my car is correct once again, as is the one on my oven. Hooray!


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