Imagine if every evening in the fall, after a long day of work, you stepped outside of your office and someone jumped out from behind the bushes and kicked you in the nuts.
Then, as you rolled around on the sidewalk, writhing in pain and fighting back tears, you managed to look up at your attacker and say, “Why? Why would you do that?”
He simply looks down at you and says, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done things.”
Well I have news for you, my friends – that does happen every fall (metaphorically) and it’s going to start happening again next week. This daily metaphorical kick to the beanbag will happen once we set our clocks back one hour, officially ending Daylight Saving Time.
Starting next Monday, when I leave work at 5 p.m. (a time I assume many of you are also leaving your offices), it will be dark outside. I will be forced to cross four lanes of traffic as I walk down to my bus stop each and every day, keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get hit by a car or mugged … or hit by a car and then mugged by the driver.
Since I am not a fan of being mugged or being struck by vehicles, I am also not a big fan of setting the clocks back. My question to you, dear readers, is why the fuck do we do it? What is the point of forcing us all, after a hard day of work, to head home in the dark, when the lack of sunlight does nothing more than reminds us all just how miserable our lives really are?
More importantly, why do we move the clocks back and forth in the first place?
One of the earliest time changing pioneers was Benjamin Franklin, who suggested in a satire in 1784 that people could save candles by waking up an hour earlier (the idea most likely formed during one of his many drug and hooker-filled benders). However, the concept of Daylight Saving Time didn’t begin to officially take shape until British builder William Willett came up with the idea in 1905.
The United States first implemented the policy in 1918 to save energy during World War I. They then brought back Daylight Saving Time for three years during World War II. However, there was never an official DST policy in place until 1966, when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act.
Originally, Daylight Saving Time in America began the first Sunday in April and ended the last Sunday in October. However, due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, starting last year DST now begins the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. The hope is that the move will conserve electricity and save an estimated 300,000 barrels of oil a year.
So if adding an extra month of Daylight Saving Time is conserving energy and saving that much oil, why not keep Daylight Saving Time year-round? That way we wouldn’t have to worry about changing our clocks twice a year (which is never fun and inevitably one of you out there always forgets to do it and feels like an asshole the next day when you are either an hour early or an hour late for everything). And, as previously mentioned, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting stabbed on my way home from work. That is what we call a “win-win.”
So why haven’t we shifted to Daylight Saving Time year-round already? Well, there were several groups who lobbied against the extension of Daylight Saving Time when the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was before Congress. Airlines were concerned about the cost of adjusting their schedules to accommodate the extension of DST and computer companies were worried about the implications the change would have on their software. If we did shift to year-round Daylight Saving Time, these two groups would have a one-time inconvenience adapting to the new schedule, but would be fine in the long run.
However, there are two other groups that are not as easily dealt with.
Many farmers were upset by the change in Daylight Saving Time. In fact, farmers have opposed Daylight Saving Time since its inception. However, farmers can set their own schedules, so they can simply adjust to a time change.
Parents’ groups were concerned about how extending Daylight Saving Time would affect the children. They worried that having children leave for school while it is still dark out could be dangerous. However, I disagree. Hours of staring at a TV screen playing darkly-lit games like Gears of War and Resident Evil has most likely helped America’s children develop a bat-like ability to detect threats in the dark, so I’m sure they will be fine.
So let’s make this happen. Write to Congress and demand that they keep Daylight Saving Time in place all year. (Everything else in this country is running so smoothly, I’m pretty sure Congress has the time to address this problem.) Together, you and I can make a difference. Together, we can keep that asshole lurking behind the bushes from kicking us in our naughty-bits.
Yes we can.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go load up on mace and bright-colored clothing so that I’m prepared for my trip home.
Random Thought of the Week:
I was planning on watching a bunch of the old Hellraiser or Nightmare on Elm Street movies on Friday to get into the Halloween spirit, but I think instead I will watch something truly terrifying – that Axe Body Spray commercial featuring the Chocolate Man with the dead eyes who is ripped apart by beautiful women.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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