As a youngster, that extra hour of daylight meant more time wandering down the creek near my back yard. As a teen, it meant more time for baseball practice, less for homework. And through college and even the 10 years after, you could see a golf ball until at least 8:30 p.m., which meant I could sneak in 18 holes after work, assuming some wanna-be pro wasn’t in front of me wasting precious daylight over 2-foot putts.
Last week, we all turned our dials back an hour, allegedly giving us an extra hour of sleep and sending the sun beneath the last swath of concrete right about quittin’ time. As far as I’m concerned, we should all pour Gorilla Glue over the dials of our wall clocks and never touch them again.
Why the change of heart? You mean besides the fact that I don’t get to play golf after work anymore?
Here’s what happened: It appears I finally grew up and started living like an adult. I married a wonderful wife, and we both wanted wonderful children. In return, we’ve been blessed with two annoying little boys, and we’re trying to raise them while maintaining a semblance of sanity. And sanity, it turns out, has a strong correlation to sleep, which is probably why the first five years of a child’s life is focused squarely on sleep.
Think about it. When your first child comes home from the hospital and Aunt Janie Mae delivers a chicken-and-rice casserole, what’s the first thing she wants to know about the new baby?
“How much is little Wilbur sleeping?”
And that line of questioning goes on and on. Uncle Roscoe comes by a few weeks later.
“Sleeping through the night yet?” he’ll ask.
After about a year, we get focused on the naps, because my wife and I learned early that remaining lucid was largely contingent on our babies taking one nap in the morning and another in the afternoon. When else would we shower and clean our destroyed house other than when Wilbur went to sleep?
A few months ago, I wrote about the issue we have in our home with sleep. Specifically, our oldest son Hank (not Wilbur), does not believe in it. He’d close down the bars if his fake ID was good enough. And he’s apparently in a life race with the roosters to be the first to crow.
Which brings us full-circle to this spring forward, fall back debacle. My children do not understand the purpose of a clock, other than the singular role of serving as a nightlight in their rooms. We have spent many an evening staring at a digital clock with Hank, trying to explain that he cannot come downstairs until the first number says “6.”
It’s just that Hank’s numbering system is different than ours. He’ll come downstairs at 5:06. Or 4:26.
We then resorted to the poster-board-and-gold-star system, rewarding him with a small toy once he got 10 stars for staying in bed.
You know what he did? With all that spare time he now had in the mornings, he figured out how to work a digital clock and its nine different buttons. That’s right: He figured out how to change the hours on the clock, so 5:16 a.m. now read 7:16 a.m.
Then something wonderful happened, and I kick myself for not writing down the day. One morning, based on no logic whatsoever, Hank stayed asleep until 7 a.m. The next morning, he slept past 7. Of course, he resorted back to earlier habits, like 6:30 and 6:15, but without the help of an alarm clock – which we had given up on months prior – Hank never woke up before 6 a.m.
And then something horrible happened. We moved the blasted clocks back an hour! Why in Heaven’s name would our society do such a horrible thing? Hank’s 6:30 a.m. wake up time once again became 5:30 a.m. And while I can blame my oldest son for a lot of things, I cannot blame him for this.
All of this means I’m joining the growing movement that wants to put an end to this disgraceful practice. Pick a time and stick with it, which is what the folks at Standardtime.com have petitioned Congress to do, along with 113,000 signatures.
Growing up, we were told this time change was a benefit to farmers. Turns out that’s baloney. The farmers wake up with the sun and quit working when it sets, regardless of what a stupid clock says. In fact, they were one of the loudest voices against this daylight saving time idea when it was implemented in 1966.
Plenty of publications have cited the California study that shows daylight saving does not save this country anything in energy consumption. What we save in turning on lights later we use in running our air conditioners longer.
It turns out, this crazy idea was published by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but he wrote it as a joke. Then, during World War II, the Germans implemented the idea in order to have more time to fight. You see, right then we should have known it was a bad idea.
But no, we continue this wicked tradition of messing with our clocks, ruining the exhaustive sleep training of our children, and eroding the sanity of working women and men who don’t get to play golf after work anymore.