The change I’m talking about isn’t what happens to women in mid life, the flashes and flares of hormonal depletion. It's about is the change that’s cast upon all of us in every US state, except Hawaii, Arizona, and parts of Indiana, every spring. It’s the change known as Daylight Savings Time.
I know I can’t fight this institution, and I really don’t want to, because, once I get used to it, I kind of like it. Therefore, I’ve decided, instead, to make a proclamation having to do with the havoc inflicted by the change itself.
Here goes: I hereby proclaim the Monday after Spring Forward to Daylight Savings Time to be a National Day of Mourning for our Lost Hour.
I’m serious about this. What do you have to do to proclaim a proclamation? I get that the conversion is made on a Sunday morning to give us a few hours to acclimate ourselves and perhaps say a prayer before the work week begins, but it’s the next day, that terrible Monday, when the fatigue hits the fan. We all drag in to work and school, bummed out, done in, and *^!*off. And no wonder. Not only are we navigating in the dark, we’re also adapting to losing an entire hour we won’t see again for months and months and our bodies are in a state of temporal confusion.
By the way, just who made that first decision to fall back and spring forward? Can you imagine what people must have thought the first time this notion was offered up? "We’re gonna do what because of why? And just how do those smart alecks in Washington expect to make that happen?"
I have to say I became so caught up in the history of how this crazy thing started, I got sidetracked from my original purpose and forgot about my proposed commemoration for a while. But the good news is, based on my continuing commitment to doing whatever it takes to conduct extensive research on a topic, I googled “history of daylight savings time” and found the answer. The decision was made by Congress to add an hour of afternoon daylight in the spring of 1918 in order to save electric power during World War I and because other countries were already doing it all over Europe. I also learned that the number of days spent in Daylight Savings Time was extended by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, and a state can opt out via the state-law-passing process, which it looks like only Hawaii, Arizona, and parts of Indiana decided to do.
Furthermore, during my short-attention-span research frenzy, I also passed by Wickipedia, my other quality source for information, from which I discerned the origin of "smart aleck". It turns out the term was coined in the mid 1850's in reference to a nefarious trick that Alec Hoag, a famous pickpocket and, yes, pimp, used to purloin the purses of his otherwise-occupied "Johns". I refuse to look up the derivation of the term "John".
All of the above taken care of, we can now return to my very important proclamation and how we can make the best of that poor pitiful mournful Monday. We can’t make it a holiday because then the Tuesday after Spring Forward to Daylight Savings Time would have to be the National Day of Mourning. That’s because we humans will put off getting used to anything until we absolutely have no choice. So our day would have to be celebrated in spite of itself, sort of like Groundhog Day or April Fools' Day.
After much thought and even more Google research, I've come up with an anthem which could be played surreptitiously on work computers, IPods, or small desk radios during the day, or, for those of us who are teachers, sung by our school choruses. That song would, of course, have to be If I Could Turn Back Time by none other than Cher. Our motto would obviously have to be Tempus Fugit, which doesn't mean “time flies” as I'd thought, but "time flees”, which is even better. We could also wear clothing that fit us in the past but not now, or outfits that were in style when we were younger but not any more.
After work, we could meet up with friends for Two for One Happy Hours and then get a free hour of overnight parking so we could call a taxi to get our inebriated selves safely home in time for our massive two-Tylenols two-times-each-hour hangover. We could also get two-for-one deals for our hour sessions with therapists and masseuses, or call up old love interests and tell them we've thought about them every hour since the big breakup. (This last one would work best if we were to choose the Two for One Happy Hours celebratory approach as opposed to the therapy route.) Later, at home, we could play the Minute Waltz sixty times on our piano or harmonica and eat bowl after bowl of Minute Rice before falling into bed in what would still be pure daylight.
All this thinking about the origins of and issues pertaining to Daylight Savings Time has got me worrying about what I’m going to do when our clocks are set back in the fall, the burden of how to fill my extra hour. Should I exercise or meditate? Should I do charity work, something good for my fellow man or woman, or for the earth itself?
I'm pretty sure it will all be too much for me. It'll certainly overwhelm me and make me tired enough to need an hour of rest and reclining. Therefore, I hereby proclaim the Monday after Fall Back from Daylight Savings Time to be set aside as National Afternoon Nap Day. We could wear our pajamas to work and rest on or under our desks after a lunch of milk and cookies. I'll ask Google for some anthem ideas.