Friday, May 11, 2012

Messing With Clocks

by Rich Smith

I think the citizens of Arizona have their heads screwed on the right way, for they are the only State that ignores the inane Federal Daylight Savings Time mandate. Messing around with our clocks twice a year is absolutely insane, with no demonstrated advantage.  How many folks ever question the absurdity of the “spring forward   fall back” mantra?  Does anyone ever ask, “What is the purpose behind this biannual irritation?” Some say it saves electric power, but how can moving our clocks one hour forward or back save electricity?  The sun still rises and sets by sidereal time, and it is the absence of sunlight that encourages us to turn lights on. The sun cannot be governed by Federal mandates and I have never seen a scientific study that supports the theory that messing with our clocks saves power.  I certainly couldn’t prove this by examining my Idaho Power bill. 

Changing clocks messes with my head and forces me to spend valuable time looking for all the clocks though out the house and when finding them remembering how to reset each.  Changing clocks to conform to some federal mandate also confuses our domesticated animals.  Moving my time habits twice each year bewilders my dog Molly. “Hey Dad, what is wrong with you? You are normally a reliable person, but it is way past my dinnertime or cookie time, and why haven’t we had our walk yet?” Dogs are creatures of habit and smarter than most humans when it comes to messing with Mother Nature. If given a vote in the matter, not one animal would opt to change clocks twice each year.  

Not satisfied with only imposing Daylight Savings Time, our government also messes with clocks across the country. Back in the nineteenth century when railroads spread their rails across the nation, they lobbied Congress to create four time zones so they could coordinate their timetables with the east to west march of the sun across the continent. This made sense for the railroads and for the makers of pocket watches, but only contributed to passenger confusion. “What time zone are we in now,” was a question cnductors had to answer multiple times. And why is it that when I travel north in Idaho and go through the town of Riggens, suddenly I lose an hour. There were no train tracks between Boise and Lewiston one-hundred and twenty years ago. Did the nineteenth century time zone tsars flunk fifth grade geography and actually think the sun traversed Idaho from south to north?  Perhaps Congress at the time just assumed Idaho needed both northern and southern time zones to support the idea the panhandle should be part of Washington State. For whatever reason, we are stuck with this stupid and partisan decision that no longer makes sense in the twenty-first century. I feel sorry for the folks who live along the Salmon River north of Riggens. School starts at 8:15am in Riggens, unless of course if you live across the Middlefork; in that case school starts at 7:15, unless only yesterday Idaho fell back to Standard Time. 

Did you realize that last year the traditional fall and spring dates for transitioning to and from Standard Time changed?  It seems Standard Time is now less Standard than it formerly was.

So, join my cause.  Forget all this political wangling about inane issues such as who will be our next President or State Representative or which party will wield power.  Congress and State Assemblies should address something of substance, something that affects my daily life.  Stop messing around with our clocks.  For this Molly and I would be most grateful.

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