After the revolution, on my first day in office as President, or Sexy and Benevolent Leader, or Illustrious Potentate, or whatever of the United States, I will permanently outlaw the observance of Daylight Saving Time.
A recent poll of random adults at the bar waiting for a table at Red Lobster in northern California revealed that 90% of all Americans think daylight saving time is an outdated and pointless exercise in arbitrary adherence to tradition. The other 10% are idiotic twats.
I have never understood how so many allegedly intelligent, free-thinking people could be so-easily convinced to do something so fundamentally silly. For four decades now, I’ve been listening to people embarrass themselves trying to explain their adherence to this absurdity, patiently enduring their assaults on logic and reason as they slowly reveal that they themselves don’t really understand this nonsense either.
There seem to be three basic arguments these pedants of chronology employ. to wit:
- Benjamin Goddamit Franklin, may God rest his sweet, patriotic soul, invented daylight saving time just like he invented electricity and he was obviously a genius and how dare you or any other non-genius fuck with Uncle Ben’s ideas. They didn’t put your ugly ass on the hundred dollar bill now, did they? Alright, look…you need to remember a couple of things. Absolutely, Ben Franklin was a genius. A great many of his inventions propelled America and mankind into the future that we enjoy today. However, Ben Franklin lived in a world without electric light and climate control. His nights were lit solely by candles and oil lamps, and even though his idea of shifting the clock around was pretty clearly meant as a joke, and he had likely been into his cups when he wrote this letter, it did make some bit of sense then to suggest that opening business an hour earlier during certain months of the year would reduce candle usage. American businesses haven’t relied on candlelight or oil lamps in more than a century. Even candle shops now use electric light and computers. The position of the sun no longer has anything to do with when we can and cannot work, play, cook, read, et cetera. If B.F. were alive today, I suspect he would want to pimp-slap all those who have mindlessly remained allegiant to daylight saving time. He invented his stove to more efficiently heat houses: he would certainly acknowledge that central heating and air is a vastly more safe and effective method of climate control, and would likely insist on having it in his house.
- It will save energy and money. Poppycock. Patently untrue. In fact, the exact opposite holds true: hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year due to employees arriving late for work, conference calls and meeting missed, and overall productivity lost. Doctors tell us that dicking around with the clock and one’s sleep schedule increases the chances of heart attack significantly, leading to hundreds of millions of more dollars lost in medical expenses. Sleep loss, the disruption of the Circadian rhythm, greater susceptibility to illness…all of things lead to lost productivity, lost money, and ultimately increased energy resources. And having citizens in the work force arrive home at the hottest part of the day ends up using significantly more energy than would be used otherwise. Just ask Arizona. They ignore DST (as does Hawaii) and they do just fine. In fact, neither of those states have nearly the same number of rolling blackouts during the summer as California does. We have them regularly throughout the summer, during DSL. There has never been a rolling blackout during Standard Time.
- The farmers need daylight saving time to order to harvest their crops and get all their work done during the summer. I can’t even begin to understand this one. And I think that’s because this one falls in to the very strange category of many of the other lines of rationale I’ve heard to justify the menace of DST: people seem to actually think that DST adds an hour of time to the day. Like we ACTUALLY get an extra hour of daylight or the days are ACTUALLY an hour longer than they would be during Standard Time. To these poor souls I can say only that I will include you in my nightly prayers and hope that you aren’t a registered voter. Farmers go to work when the sun comes up, and they don’t spend the day watching the clock, waiting for 5 o’clock so they can knock off. Hell no. They quit work when it’s so dark they can’t see what they’re doing. They don’t give the slightest of damns if you insist it’s 5:00pm or midnight: just stay out of their way.
The practice of hourly timekeeping only began in the United States once train travel began: people needed to know when the hell they needed to be at the station to catch their train. Fair enough. And today’s world is governed by the clock. Fine. But let’s just settle on what time it is and then leave it that way.