My Second Least Favorite Day of the Year

This time of year is actually my most preferred amongst the seasons, particularly in New England. Mid-autumn provides a beautiful balance of vibrant, fiery spectacle and muted earth tones; of comfortable days for work or play and cool nights for sleeping; of crisp, tart apples and savory, spiced pumpkin; of bountiful candy treats and Gothic themed decor; of migratory birds leaving for their winter retreats and the deer or turkeys fattening up for their stay.

However, the joy of this season is diminished for me every year by a singular event. It is not due to any particular holiday, which may or may not have historical or humanitarian merit. And it is not due to the cyclical occurrence of election days (please remember to vote). No, it is irreparably damaged because of a single hour and one that mystically takes place in the middle of the night on the first Sunday in November. For me, the season is momentarily ruined by the semi-annual changing of the clocks!

For many people, turning back the clocks in the Fall is a fool’s delight because we are theoretically gaining “an extra hour of sleep”. This is a fallacy, of course. We are merely getting back the hour we gave up in the Spring. It’s much like the sensation we experience when getting our tax return – we’re excited to be getting money from the government, until we realize that it was our earned money that was withheld from us in the first place!

Pets and young children have no regard for the mandated shifting of hours. Their schedules are preset on the prior routines of their juvenile life or by the actual rising and setting of the sun. So, for guardians of human offspring or fur babies, there is no extra rest to be had.   

There’s an historic association with why we change the clocks and I support the concept. It was originally started to conserve fuel during the early 1900s by making better use of the available daylight, thus “daylight savings”. And why wouldn’t we do this?

But it seems that we really only needed to change the clocks once to correct the issue, right? Why keep flip-flopping the time settings? It’s my theory that the ongoing practice was perpetuated by major disposable battery manufacturers who conspired to have homeowners replace batteries in their smoke detectors twice a year. That’s why I’ve converted to rechargeable batteries.

While the concept of daylight savings was introduced to support conservation of energy and provide additional safety for drivers, there is much debate about these benefits in modern times. There may even be offsetting damage occurring as people take a week or so to adjust their brains to the changed times of day and night. It is a similar experience to dealing with jet lag, but on a massive human scale.  

Of course, my first least favorite day of the year is when we turn the clocks forward in the Spring, guaranteeing the lost hour of sleep. Isn’t it time that we did away with this silly practice? If I were to ever run for president, ending the custom of changing the clocks would be my primary platform. And I’m more than happy to compromise upon which way we standardize the setting of the clocks – an hour one way or the other makes no significant difference to me. Or better yet, split the difference and change the clocks one final time by 30 minutes. Please remember to vote!


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