I dislike Daylight Savings Time. A lot. When my middle daughter dislikes something she’ll comment that she wishes it would “die in a hole.” Given that Daylight Savings Time is a rather abstract concept, as well as unliving, my daughter’s curse would be ineffective. Though Daylight Savings Time does turn everyone into the living dead for a few days afterward as we try to adjust to the new schedule. So rather than the time change dying in a hole, it kind of feels like that’s what has happened to us.
It has been suggested that the time change decreases our energy usage somehow, but the recent studies of the question seem to suggest it is negligible, if it happens at all—and then only for the months of March and April. The no doubt apocryphal story is told that when a Native American was informed about Daylight Savings Time he commented, “Only a white man would be stupid enough to believe that cutting the top off a blanket and sewing it to the bottom would make the blanket longer.”
In fact, there is evidence that the time change decreases productivity, increases accidents and is generally less than beneficial to one’s overall health. For instance, as my wife can testify from her experiences at losing weight through Weight Watchers (she’s shed more than 70 pounds over the last year), if she doesn’t get adequate sleep, her weight tends to either maintain or increase.
It is also enormously inconvenient to have to reset clocks twice a year. For those things such as your computer, cellphone, and DVRs, cable or satellite receivers, the change happens automatically. Of course, that’s because programmers had to spend extra time and energy figuring out how to make that happen—and they had to scramble a few years back when Congress in its wisdom (I think they have one brain and share it) decided to change the dates for when time change happens.
Given that nearly every gadget in our homes now has a clock in it, and given that most of them do not change automatically, I spend a considerable amount of time twice a year trying to change them all—and trying to remember all the clocks that need the adjustment. Inevitably I miss a few—especially the ones in my cars. And each device has its own tortuous way of changing the time: no two clocks seem to reset in quite the same way.
I would really prefer that we not have to change the clocks twice a year at all. I hate losing an hour’s sleep in the Spring. I simply don’t see the value of mucking with everyone’s sleep schedules and inducing nationwide “jet lag” twice a year.
According to Wikipedia’s article on the subject, Benjamin Franklin introduced the concept of Daylight Savings Time in 1784 in a letter to the editors of the Journal of Paris. However, the article says that his letter was satirical. I hope so. I rather like Ben Franklin and would prefer to think that he never came up with such a bad idea. Of course, he also stood out in the rain waiting for his kite to be struck by lightning, so he wasn’t exactly a stranger to bad ideas.
The first serious proposal for Daylight Savings Time came in 1895 when a New Zealander, G.V. Hudson proposed it. He did shift work and liked to collect insects after work. He figured that some extra daylight in the evening would help him with that.
An Englishman next proposed the idea in 1905. His name was William Willet and he was bothered both by people sleeping into daylight in the morning, when he thought they should be up and about—and because he was an avid golfer. He didn’t like having to stop playing golf when it got too dark to see.
Germany and its allies were the first nations to institute Daylight Savings Time. They did it for their war effort during World War I, ostensibly to save fuel. Daylight Savings Time first came to the United States in 1918, when the Standard Time Act established standard time zones and instituted Daylight Savings Time. It proved so unpopular that the Congress got rid of it soon after World War I—even though they needed to override President Woodrow Wilson’s veto in order to do it.
Daylight Savings Time returned during World War II when it was instituted year round and was called War Time. It ended with the end of World War II.
Individual states were able to institute it thereafter if they so chose, but it did not become a nationwide requirement until 1967. Even then, states were permitted to exempt themselves from the law. Today, only most of Arizona and all of Hawaii do not do Daylight Savings Time.
Some people claim to like Daylight Savings Time. These are probably the same people who are morning people. There’s something wrong with morning people. I suspect morning people are not actually human. Maybe they’re the ones who came up with Daylight Savings Time. Perhaps they are the vanguard of some alien invasion and intend to attack us when we’re most sleep deprived.
Only most parts of Arizona and Hawaii can save us.