Spring forward, fall over

The days are getting shorter. And so am I. I don't think I'm gaining weight, I just think gravity is slowly squishing me into a planet-shaped thing. It's doing to me what it's done to the Earth and the moon and the Sun: making me dense, round and wrinkled.

Or maybe the lack of light is just depressing me. They're going to change the clocks soon, from daylight saving time back to standard.

Instead of changing all the clocks, wouldn't it be easier for all schools and businesses to simply open an hour later? Instead of working 9 to 5, in the winter we could work 10 to 6. The same amount of work would get done. Schools could open and close an hour later than usual. The children would hate it just as much.

At one time, back when there was only one clock in the average home, it was probably easier to change the clock than it was to change an office or a factory's hours. Who knew that one day, every appliance in the average home would have a clock? Every microwave, every TiVo, every phone, every thermostat, every treadmill, every coffeemaker, every radio, every toothbrush, every stovetop has a clock that must be changed. Want a fun way to waste a day? Try getting your stovetop clock and your microwave clock to display the same exact time. One will always say 8:31 when the other says 8:32. The way things are going, soon your sofa will come with a built-in timer.



Not to mention the actual clocks that clutter our bedstands and hallways. Sue and I both have alarm clocks. I never reset mine, because I never use it to wake up. It's only there so I can tell Sue what time her cat sat on my head last night, and long ago I realized that accuracy in cat behavior is not a big deal with her. Certainly not something she wants to hear about at 3 or 4 a.m. An hour one way or the other doesn't seem to faze her.

Sue sets her alarm with great care, always making it exactly 15 minutes early so she'll never be late. All winter long, she stews about my clock, because the first thing she sees when she wakes up is my clock telling her she's 45 minutes behind schedule. I figure it makes up for the cat thing.

In the car, I have to pull out the manual to remember how to set the clock. I never had to worry about this when I was a kid. The clock and the radio in my cars never worked. Neither did the car, most of the time. Now I drive cars where the clock and the radio both work, but who needs the clock? On the radio, practically all they do is tell me what time it is. It's the top of the hour, it's the bottom of the hour, it's 22 past the hour, it's the weather on the 8's, it's the traffic report on the 10's. All as if I don't already have a cellphone, a watch and a clock on the dash that can tell me the time. I'm sure somebody out there in radioland doesn't know what time it is, but I wouldn't brag about him being a listener. He probably doesn't know what day it is, either.

Changing the clocks just seems like such a bother for the little benefit we get out of it. Now, if we could change the calendar, going from fall to spring and cutting out winter altogether, I could get behind that in a big way. Wouldn't it be great to fall asleep on the last day of fall and wake up on the first day of spring? That'd be worth a little inconvenience.

Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.

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