The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Now is a bad time to turn back clock
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
THIS WEEKEND we set the clocks back as we bid farewell to Daylight Saving Time until next March.
The other day, I heard a guy talking about the return to Standard Time and he was all excited about the fact that he was going to get an extra hour of sleep.
I felt a punch from the man behind me who whispered, “Yeah! And it’s gonna start getting dark at 5 o’clock every afternoon!”
He has a point. If ever we need Daylight Saving Time, it is in the winter. If you work a nine-to-five job you can’t get anything done outside in the evenings from now until spring because it is dark when you get home.
The theory behind reverting to Standard Time each winter is that the kids need the extra daylight in the morning while standing at the bus stop.
Given the fact that most schools start so early these days, I don’t think changing the time makes much difference. It will still hardly be light when the buses arrive each morning.
The payback for a few minutes of morning light is the fact that children won’t have any time to play and get exercise after school (there are still some kids—not many—who actually go outside) because some school buses don’t drop kids off until almost 5 p.m.
Be that as it may, Daylight Saving Time, or “fast time” as the old people used to call it, will end tonight and you’ll get that extra hour of sleep you lost last March.
A couple of years ago a lady (a blonde, incidentally) said she just didn’t understand how this time change thing worked.
“How can we just lose or gain an hour?” she asked.
I felt it was my duty to help a lady in distress (especially a good-looking blonde), so I explained the science involved in changing from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time and back again.
“They have these big rockets anchored deep down in the Earth’s bedrock,” I began. “They are set up about 100 miles apart from the North Pole to the South Pole way out in the Pacific Ocean.
“In March, they turn the rockets westward and fire them simultaneously. “Computers control the burn and allow the rockets to fire just long enough to speed up the Earth’s rotation by one hour.
“In November, they reverse the rockets and burn them just long enough to slow down the Earth’s rotation by one hour. It is as simple as that.”
At first the woman thought I was joking, but when I reminded her that there was no Daylight Saving Time prior to the invention of rockets, she knew I was on the level.
“How come nobody ever hears those rockets?” the blonde asked.
“They have mufflers on them, like with cars,” I replied. “Government regulations, you know.”
The lady smiled.
“Talking to you is like talking to the History Channel,” she said.
You don’t know how special that made me feel. I just love helping people—especially good-looking blondes.