Dorothy Rosby
contributing columnist
Imagine you and your family walk into a crowded church service on March 14. Everyone turns to look at you, and then they all start singing—the closing hymn. Obviously they remembered what you didn’t: To set the clocks ahead the night before.
My advice is to act casual. Maybe they’ll think you’re returning from a quick trip to the restroom—with your whole family.
And don’t be too hard on yourself. This sort of thing happens whenever we spring ahead, which, by the way, makes it sound a lot more fun than it is.
Everyone knows you can’t fool Mother Nature, but we continue to mess with Father Time and it’s clear it ticks him off. Sorry. Research shows Daylight Saving Time contributes to health problems, accidents and heated arguments over whether it’s Daylight Savings or Daylight Saving. Before your family comes to blows, let me assure you it’s saving. I read it on the internet, so it must be right.
The first fellow to suggest adjusting our clocks was New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson. In 1895, he proposed advancing them two full hours in the summer because he wanted more daylight for hunting insects. Thankfully Hudson’s proposal didn’t…uh…fly. Everyone would be dozing off on their way to work Monday morning instead of waiting until they got there to do it.
In 1907, an Englishman named William Willett proposed advancing the clocks 20 minutes every Sunday in April, then reversing them 20 minutes each week in September. I’d never know what time it was.
The Germans were the first to institute Daylight Saving Time in 1916, and the United States followed suit in 1918 as a wartime measure, though I don’t see how it would help in a war. Everyone would be too tired to fight. Maybe that’s why it was repealed in 1919.
But it returned for good in 1966, and it’s not all bad. Just think, if we didn’t have to get up earlier on March 14, we wouldn’t get to sleep later on November 7.
Plus the creators of Daylight Saving Time had the good sense to schedule it for a Sunday rather than a Monday morning. Pastors are probably more forgiving than employers are.
Whether or not Daylight Saving Time saves energy is debatable, but I know for a fact it doesn’t save my energy. For me, it’s like jet lag without a trip. And I’m not alone. The Monday after Daylight Saving Time begins has been dubbed Sleepy Monday and for good reason. It will never be a national holiday. We’re all too tired to celebrate.
In fact, research shows that in the week after we spring ahead, there’s an increase in cyber loafing—employees wasting time on the internet—because they’re tired. At least that’s the excuse they give if you catch them doing it. And saying you’re too tired to work does sound better than saying you were shopping for fishing gear online.
Not only is everybody tired, some of us are confused by the time change. Once when my son was young, we held his birthday party on the Sunday Daylight Saving Time began. One guest’s parents forgot about the time change and showed up an hour late. Fortunately, we still had cake and ice cream.
Another guest’s parents thought it was time to set the clocks back. They brought their child two hours late, just as the party was breaking up. We had no cake, no ice cream and not much else either. My son still got the gift though.
It can be confusing, and it was important that I understood because I brought the birthday boy. That’s why I came up with a clever way to remember which way to set your clocks: In the spring, you spring out of bed because you’re an hour late for work. In the fall, you fall back into it when you realize you’re not.
(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact [email protected])