Why The State of Indiana Has Ruined My Perception Of Time Zones For Life, Although Their Corn Is Still Really Good


GateHouse – Indiana gets the Vince Lombardi trophy, yes. But on the other hand, if asked, people can successfully tell people what time it is in Chicago.

I’ll explain. Most of the continental United States is divided up into what we know as “time zones,” which are extremely important to keep track of if you live in a border area, as we do, and you’re trying to figure out when to Tivo the game. Most of the States, that is, except Indiana and Arizona, which, since daylight-savings time was invented in 1790, have resisted adopting the very formula that the other 48 seem to be enjoying very much. (Indiana has done this largely because John Mellencamp told them to, and they are powerless to stop him).

This time-zone conundrum has affected me on a personal and very deep level for nearly my whole life; growing up, I lived in four different towns, which works out to 18 different time zones, and each of which had its own TV schedule, judicial process and state-sponsored rickety backboard nailed to the side of a picturesque barn. Several times I arrived at school early in the morning, only to be told by the startled janitorial staff that it was 3 a.m., and also Christmas morning.

As I understand it today, the short version – and I cannot stress here the probability that I still, at the age of 31, have this entirely friggin’ wrong – is this: Indiana is on Eastern time, except for the northwest corner (known as “The Region” by people who live there, who then have to gulp several nourishing breaths because the whole place is basically a smoke-choked steel mill), because of its proximity to Chicago, and somewhere down near Evansville, where there is a large river and they grow high school basketball players out of snap beans. These two counties refuse to sign onto daylight savings time, because, according to statements I’ve received from state representatives from both: “We’re ornery.”

So last year, bravely tabling health care and tax reform and that war in Iraq thing, Governor Mitch Daniels (R-The Gym In Hickory) announced a revolutionary plan that would finally shore up the state’s daylight savings shortcomings: Everyone, Daniels announced, would be immediately put on Hungarian Standard Time – a plan that, he went on to say, “should shut everybody up.”

But Daniels’ plan came with one important caveat – and this part, I think, is true – it (itals) didn’t require counties to go along with it (enditals), making one sort of wonder about why they’d go to all that trouble of electing a governor instead of just, say, installing one of those snap-bean basketball players, but whatever, no one likes my ideas. Anyway, parts of Indiana stayed the same, parts went Eastern, parts went Hungarian, and a few of the snarkier counties in the south adopted fully a timekeeping system of sundials and groundhogs.

Last year – and this part comes from the AP, so I’m pretty sure it’s legit – the northern county of Pulaski received federal approval to shift from Eastern time to Central time, although at the same time four neighboring counties to the east and south were denied in making the exact same request, largely because, according to court documentation, “they didn’t seem like they really wanted it wanted it, you know?” The confusion caused Peyton Manning to show up an hour late for each of the seven thousand commercials he shot this week. Fine. So I’m a sore loser.

Anyway, since that left Pulaski the weird-shaped Tetris piece in that little quadrangle of the state, the county asked to switch back to Eastern time, invoking the long-dormant federal “no tagbacks” clause. Today, in Pulaski County, Indiana, it’s just 3:45 all the time, and everyone is more or less OK with that. Elsewhere in the state, at any given time, it can be anywhere from 12 noon to Friday afternoon. As for the game, just click on the listing in the “Program Name” box. The computer will do the rest.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

3 responses to “Why The State of Indiana Has Ruined My Perception Of Time Zones For Life, Although Their Corn Is Still Really Good

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