Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Hate Daylight Saving Time!

By Alan Caruba

I hate “Daylight Saving Time” and regard it as a totally bogus excuse to screw up everyone’s life in the quest for one more hour of daylight during the wintertime. This end-of-October ritual and its “spring forward” counterpart is idiotic.

The fact is the daylight or lack of it will be there no matter what the clocks say. You do not “gain” anything by having to change all your clocks and other time pieces. The day remains 24 hours. If you are too stupid to know that it is light or dark outside, nothing this government mandate does will be of much help.

My chief objection is that, ever since I was in sixth grade at Jefferson School and was selected to ring the bells in the morning, denoting that my fellow scholars had five minutes to scurry off to class or horror of horrors was late, I have been a clock-watcher. I have one in every room of my apartment, plus a wristwatch.

My late father was so punctual that it was routine for us to show up early at any event. He hated being late and regarded it as a signal character flaw. At social events, this invariably meant we were the first to arrive.

Which brings me to dinner time; at my home, dinner was served at five P.M. Eastern. My Mother, the author of two cookbooks, had taught thousands of men and women throughout New Jersey the art of gourmet cooking and dining, so I had the good fortune of sitting down to a king’s feast every evening. Thereupon, the wine and conversation flowed.

I tell you this so that you know that, at 5 P.M., no matter what time zone I may be in, my body is telling me to have dinner. In the 1980s when I traveled throughout the United States, if I was in the Pacific or Mountain Time zones, it played havoc with me. I wasn’t that thrilled with the Central time zone either.

In an interesting commentary published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, William F. Shughart II, the F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Mississippi and a senior fellow at The Independent Institute, says that it “has been known for years that shifting time forward or backward has negative, and possibly deadly, health consequences.”

Citing a Swedish study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on October 30, 2008, Shughart notes that there were reports “in the incidence of myocardial infarction, i.e., heart attacks, after the beginning of daylight-saving time and the subsequent return to standard time.”

“The underlying causal mechanism has to do with how the hypothalamus regulates humankind’s circadian rhythms. When the ‘clock’ that governs the body’s internal physical, chemical, electrical, hormonal, and immunological environment to the new conditions” must adjust to an artificial change, it affects the entire body.

In layman’s terms, this is why millions of Americans will put in a groggy couple of days at school, on the job, or just tending to homemaking duties. It clearly puts drivers at risk. And it will kill some folks.

Here’s the kicker, some 1.5 billion people around the world are affected by this meaningless effort to get an “extra” hour of sunlight. In a global economy, many companies located overseas that provide technical support and other services to U.S. businesses must adjust to New York time as well.

It is time to for the United States to rid itself of Daylight Saving Time and stop annoying its citizens as well as those in far flung lands that must suffer our foolishness.

Leave my circadian cycles alone!


Buzzg said...

I'm with you Alan. I have always hated the bi-annual clock change rigmarole. Originally, I am told, it was done to provide daylight hours for kids riding the bus to and from school. (Nixon?) Well, maybe. How many bad ideas have been touted and sold "for the kids"?
I used to run 'on the clock' every working day of my life. When I became self-employed in 1997 I changed that. I don't wear a watch, I don't have an alarm clock. I schedule appointments by my clock which is not subject to the vagaries of Congress. Screw 'em, it's always the same time in my office. Free at last, free at last, great God Almighty, free at last.
Thank you MLK.

Buzzg said...

If we're "saving time", where does it go?
Always mystified me.

Alan Caruba said...

Beats the heck out of me, Buzzg!

Al said...

you have it backwards, You get the extra hour of daylight in the summer, not the winter.

anglirich said...

I am going to pick up a copy of "Cooking With Wine & High Spirits" because of your wit and bringing back so many memories of my childhood. Your mother had it right!
We sit down for a family meal on Sat/Sun. and the conversation along with good food and great wine enrich our precious times together, without any time frame whatsoever.

Alan Caruba said... extra hour in the summer, eh? When the sun shines longer anyway. That figures.

@anglirich...Good luck finding a copy of my Mother's book. It was published originally in 1963 in hardcover and in 1971 as a softcover. I have a copy of course and a framed cover of it on the wall of my little kitchen area.

Buzzg said...


Re your mother's book.

Cooking with wine and high spirits;: A lighthearted approach to the art of gourmet cooking (Hardcover)
~ Rebecca Caruba (Author)
No customer reviews yet. Be the first.

Available from these sellers.

1 new from $9.00 22 used from $0.01

kuntrygrl_54 said...

I have never understood Daylight Saving Time either. Growing up, I lived in a small section of Indiana that did not turn clocks forward or backward with the seasons, so the only thing that changed was the time television programs began (as they were coming out of areas that did change time, or were programming for areas that changed time). To this day, I can never keep the changing time straight, and I absolutely loathe changing the time, because it IS hard on the mind and body. I have always wondered: time doesn't stop, it keeps moving on forward, so what good does it do us to change it around all of the time?

Alan Caruba said...

So Mother's book is still available after all these years? I rather like that.

There is never an evening I sit down to dinner when I don't miss her wonderful cooking.

Mircea Pauca said...

I understood DST was originally an emergency measure of extra effort from the British in WW2 to synchronize their clock with the Germans'. But the sun shining earlier on Britain, means the Brits had to wake earlier (in Sun time).

I think its only real 'benefit' is to remind other 'lazy' people not to 'waste time' sleeping in the summer mornings when there IS sun (i.e. wake at legal 7:00 being astronomical 6:00, but few would have decided to wake at 6:00 otherwise)

Thank you for thinking about this!