Post # 657 CHANGING TIMES

As of the date of this writing, no one, to our knowledge, has mistaken the bi-annually used expression,   “spring forward, fall back,” as, either, a choreographic direction, or a military defensive maneuver. Proposed, in France, in 1754 by Ben Franklin, it amounted to a bi-annual, one-hour time shift, to save cost, (specifically, he said, to lower the expense of candles). If modern society continued to employ candles for illumination, such bothersome practice, conceivably, might have some modicum of value. We would definitively, and initially, declare that this, traditional (but, non-uniform) practice has little if any, practical utility. Pragmatically speaking, this traditional routine consisting of a one-hour, shift, twice per year, is an annoying inconvenience, an utter waste of valuable time and money, and creates unnecessary opportunities for mistake or misunderstanding.

On the forthcoming dates of March 13, and November 6, respectively, society is expected to, perform the Daylight Savings dance, and, dutifully, set all of its personal timepieces, first, forward, and thereafter back, one hour. This includes all non-digitalized clocks, time-keeping radios and household appliances, wristwatches, pocket watches and women’s worn clock pendants; a bothersome task that can, indeed, consume the better part of the very hour saved, and is fraught with potential errors in schedule, some, conceivably, resulting in consequential misunderstanding.

Proponents of this traditional, useless, and time-consuming ritual, argue that more daylight reduces the need for expensive, possibly, air-polluting energy, promotes healthy outdoor activity by reducing sedentary behavior thereby, promoting good health, provides more light for safer driving, reduces crime and is beneficial for general retail and department store business. We are entirely unaware of any contemporaneous comments, regarding Franklin’s rationale on the crucial subject of candle economy.

Opponents of the established DST tradition, bizarrely argue that the practice of shifting one hour affects the health, is responsible for unnecessary expense (monetizing the time spent in clock changing and by correcting the time of confused business appointments). Lastly, it is seriously, maintained, that it is responsible for loss of sleep.

From our point of view, the DST controversy, both pro and con, is thrice unique. The issue, as well as the ardent, contending arguments, in our view, are unredeemably, petty and, as a practical matter, of minimal consequence. Pragmatically, it concerns the evaluation of the potential effects( mandatory in some jurisdictions)of a time shift of only one hour (60 minutes). We deem it totally absurd, and inconceivable, to  attribute to it, as respectively claimed, either, good or bad consequential results, such as  purported, cardiac arrest, depression, changes in criminal activity, benefits to commercial enterprise, increased driving safety, major sleep deprivation or, significant savings of electricity, encouragement of outdoor active lifestyle,  reduction in crime statistics; all of which has been strenously asserted, are proximate consequences, of the practice of moving the clock’s hour hand, one numerical digit.

We feel obliged to declare that the entire exercise is a petty, useless, nuisance and an empirical invitation to error and misunderstanding. Aside from Ben Franklin’s, 18th Century well-grounded argument, concerning  economy in the use of candles, we are unable to see any merit, whatsoever, in the bothersome practice, nor, by the way, in the entire controversy.  

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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