Time change. We all know how it goes because we all have that little mental teaser committed to memory. The clocks fall back one hour in the fall. They spring forward one hour in the spring. Easy-peasy, right?
Twice a year, we’ve been playing this re-set-the-clock game for over a hundred years now.
Still, I have to stop and think about whether I’m going to get more sleep or lose sleep. I’m never sure if I’m going to be early for work or if I’m going to be late for church if I forget to change my clocks. Twice a year I go through the same metal gymnastics for about 24 hours until I settle into the new routine.
When Beth was teaching fourth grade at Mission Road Elementary School near Cartersville, Georgia, she taught with a gal that was convinced that the time change messed with the corn and the cows on her husband’s farm.
“Sam waits until after the time change to plant. The harvest is never as good if he plants before the time change.”
“Really?” Beth is wondering how this works.
“Yeah. And the change messes with our cows, too. They get all confused about when feeding time is. We hate the time change.”
I never knew that corn and cows depended so much on Timex.
There’s a change afoot to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. The new equalizer for all citizens. Georgia and several other states passed their own bills this past spring. Senator Rubio got it ratified in the US Senate and if it goes through the House with a thumbs-up, we can all put the fall-back and spring-forward reminders in the history books.
There’s no shortage of experts engaged in the debate. All the pros and cons of living with one clock setting. Some quote qualified doctors who say that our circadian rhythm is going to get all out of whack. Our bodies won’t know when to sleep and when to wake up.
First of all, I don’t have any rhythm anyway and I don’t dance with cicadas. Secondly, my body knows exactly when it needs to sleep and when to wake up without the benefit of a clock. Just ask my preacher.
Evidently, there is a whole lot of stress out there caused by having to reset our clocks. The argument is that if we go to Daylight Savings Time and stick with it, heart attacks will decrease. Crime rates will fall. Mental health will improve. And childhood obesity will decline.
I’ll admit that the stress around my house is pretty low. The most important clock is my clock radio. The one that wakes me up on workdays. But it died last week and now I’m using my cell phone as a temporary solution. It knows to fall back automatically. All my worries are gone.
Besides, I’m so laid back about the time change that the rest of the clocks in my house stay set on the old time for weeks before I get around to changing them. I just look at them and subtract minus one in my head.
But Rubio actually said that there is science behind these claims of stress and obesity.
I can see it now. Researchers standing behind one-way mirrors with clipboards watching twenty kids at play. In their controlled laboratory they are able to simulate sunset and its effect on children. As soon as their fake sun goes down, the kids stop playing and turn to Cheetos for comfort.
Their conclusion: If we can hold back sunset for just another hour each day and shorten the time between sunset and bedtime, that equals to 47,982 fewer bags of Cheetos consumed by children between the ages of 8 and 10; thereby turning the tide on childhood obesity.
I got news for them. Changing the clock ain’t got nothing to do with Cheetos consumption. If mama would invoke a 5-Cheeto limit before supper and spank the little muncher if he broke the rule, that would curtail the issue more than anything.
The biggest factor, says Rubio, is that we all want our kids to get outside and play and not spend all their time in front of some video screen. I’m with him on that. He says that if we can give them even one more hour of daylight to get outside, this new law will be worth the battle.
I hate to be the one to point out the obvious stink-in-the-outhouse here, but dark never stopped us from playing outside. In fact, some of the best games of hide-n-seek in which I ever participated took place after dark. We waited for it to get dark so the game would be that much better.
I’m sorry, but I’m going to lay this at the feet of the parents again. We have a whole generation of adults who seem to be afraid of the dark and who are passing that along to their kids.
I drive past the perfect example of this every morning on my way to work. I pass several school bus stops each morning. No kids are out there standing by themselves while waiting on the bus. They’re all sitting in mama’s car at the bus stop. One mom (could be a dad) it’s too dark to tell, sits at the end of their 60ft long driveway in the car with the lights on and the heater running to wait on the bus. You gonna tell me that kid can’t wear a jacket and stand out at the end of the driveway by himself to wait on the bus?
Look, I don’t really care if they choose to make Daylight Savings Time the permanent setting from now until eternity. We’ll adjust. We’re already living on that time now for eight months out of the year. When we fall back to EST in a week or so, it will only be for about 16 weeks.
Once we stop changing the clocks, the biggest adjustment will be in the wintertime mornings. Roll call in first period Lit Class will come while it’s till dark outside. Farmers, construction workers, and landscapers will all be working with headlamps waiting on the sun to come up. Roosters everywhere will be unemployed because their sunrise calls are too late in the day.
The way I see it, the world has been spinning on its axis and circling the sun just fine since time began. The fact that Galileo invented a pendulum device to track the passing of time has never changed the rising and fading of the sun. Set it back. Move it forward. The world keeps on turning. We keep on doing what we do.
They call this new law the Sunshine Protection Act, which just tickles the heck out of me. Like we humans are even capable of protecting the sun and determining when we’ll let it shine. We can make it feel like the sun comes up earlier or later, but we’re really just rearranging our perception of time.
So, get ready. This could be our next to last time change.
I just hope somebody tells the cows when to eat.