Waste of Saving Time
March 13, 2014
So, are you thoroughly enjoying that extra hour of daylight in the afternoons? Or are you too tired to, since you’re actually getting up an hour earlier? The first week of “Springing forward” is a livid living hell for most of us (those who look forward to it can go there). Suddenly you’re getting up to go and realize you’d have just been getting out of bed when you get to where you're going. Starting the day tired and disoriented and completely exhausted by the afternoon.
There is a completely scientifically proven reason why you feel this way. It’s because your body’s internal clock doesn’t observe daylight savings time and because it is stupid (DST not your body...unless you have a stupid body). It’ll take weeks to adjust to the time change and new schedule. So why do we do it? Where did this asinine idea come from? More importantly, what moron thought it was a good idea that the shift should be made at two o’clock in the morning?
The majority of people believe it was set into place for the farming community. To allot them extra hours of daylight in the afternoons. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Farmers must rise with the sun and tend to livestock regardless of what any mechanical timepiece says. A more plausible reason for daylight savings time is to aid in energy conservation. That would be nice, to see human beings being concerned about conserving our resources, were it remotely true. A laughable and oft joked-about cause is that it was created so politicians could get in an extra round of golf in the evenings. Though this seems like nothing more than a humorous anecdote that takes a hit at government officials, it is half right. The truth is Daylight Savings Time was officially suggested so a man would have more time in the summer evenings to look at bugs.
Who was this bug-eyed fool? Most people lay the blame on Benjamin Franklin for suggesting the lengthening of the days. However, Ben’s idea didn’t so much involve changing the clocks but rather church bells being rung and cannons fired at dawn. Another man that is falsely credited with DST’s invention was the prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett. Willett, an avid golfer (toldja it was half right) independently conceived DST in 1905 because he disliked cutting short his round at dusk. His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, a proposal he published two years later and he pursued it till his death in 1915.
The modern version of DST was actually first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist (that’s the scientific term for “likes to look at bugs”) George Vernon Hudson. His shift work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and so he enjoyed after-hours daylight. In 1895 he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two hour daylight-saving shift and followed this up in an 1898 paper.
Ironically enough the idea of “saving time” would not become official until all three of these men’s time had run out. On April 30th 1916, Germany and its World War I allies were the first to use DST as a way to conserve coal during wartime (this is where the “energy conservation” idea came from). Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918. There, now you know the history behind it and it’s still stupid. Even stupider when you think of how the whole thing was conceived by a former president who liked loud noises, a golfer and a guy wanting a few more hours in the afternoon to catch bugs.
Considering its outdated origins one must question, is daylight savings still truly viable? Or is it an antique practice that should be abandoned? The truth is, to abolish DST would be a grave travesty. It is the one calendar event that effects everyone. It brings the world together in unison to b**** at one about the same thing. The way things are going we should take any type of unity we can get nowadays.
Editor’s note: This is a Chainsaw Classic Column.
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