Archive Opinion The Orion

Daylight-saving takes a toll on sleepy time

August 1, 2004

I hate Benjamin Franklin.

Sure, “Poor Richard’s Almanac” is great and when he turns green he’s worth $100, but he’s made my life hell, and moved 2 a.m. from the spring to the fall, next to another 2 a.m.

Good ol’ Ben came up with this silly thing called daylight-saving time. It means we get a whole extra hour of daylight, or at least we’re told that. It really means we get rid of that light in the morning when we want to sleep in and stick it at the end of the day. Of course this makes as much sense as saving your breakfast eggs for dinner (this only applies to cooked eggs).

We needed that extra hour at night way back in the day to enjoy the warmth and light of summer outdoors because there were no light bulbs. Mr. Franklin just wanted to electrocute himself with a kite and let Edison do the hard work. Nowadays we can carry the magic of light with us.

Daylight-saving time is now nothing more than a nuisance. Fourth of July becomes a nightmare at my house, because we’re waiting for the sun to go down to set off the fireworks for the kids who are half-asleep by the time we start and the younger ones are completely out by the time we’re done.

DST is also a pain because it’s dark at 7 a.m. Two hours after morning purists say the day has started, the sun is having trouble rolling over. If the sun can’t deal with it, neither can I.

So I’m a little old fashioned and I can’t call a starry sky morning. Better times are on the way. In a few more days, time will start to make sense again. We’ll relax into a nice extra hour of sleep and refresh ourselves after nearly two-thirds of the semester is done.

After all, this is only a certain time of the year. It’s not like daylight-saving time isn’t universal. There is no religious conflict (except for the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Jews in Israel who recite prayers in the Jewish month of Elul).

Well, at least it’s an event all Americans take part in (except Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, most of the Eastern time zone, parts of Indiana, and Arizona (except for the Navajo Indian Reservation)). Other than that, it’s a fun time for all.

To be honest, the whole concept of daylight-saving time sounds like it comes straight out of the book of Revelation:

“And lo, one of the four beasts spoke, ‘Come and see.’ And I saw. Unto me was revealed a form of torture far more sinister than any ye may encounter under the canopy of the heavens. The damnation of man hath been spelled out before mine eyes; plans to make an hour of morning into an hour of evening for only a portion of days. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him” (Rev 6: 7, 7.5, 8).

So what hope do we have against this menace? The best advice I could give to a first-year student before registration opens is watch your times. If your earliest class this semester is at 9 a.m., push it back to 10 a.m. It is amazing the power that pushing time forward can have on a sleep cycle and the rest of the world. If you’re really unlucky and don’t take my advice, the bus you take in the morning will mysteriously appear five minutes earlier at its stop and Econ will be even more fun to take (sorry Professor Adams!).

For the rest of you, start writing letters and raising a fuss to your congressman. Maybe in the hunt for votes, they’ll adopt it as their cause and have a bill signed, sealed and vetoed before the November election, because it will remind President Bush of all his service in Vietnam, where they don’t have DST.

Wait a second. When was he in Vietnam…?