GateHouse – This past weekend marked the beginning of daylight-saving time, meaning that you should have set your clocks forward an hour. You probably know this already, because if you haven’t by now, your co-workers are probably gossiping about you a lot.
Actually, let me take that back. I think you were supposed to set your clocks forward an hour. In reality, I have absolutely no earthly idea what in the hell you are supposed to do.
Although I am a 32-year-old of just slightly below average intelligence who can tie his shoes and operate an iPod, though never at the same time, I have never in my life been able to figure out daylight-saving time.
I have written about this before, but I swear I’m gonna keep whining about it until somebody in the government does something about it, whenever they’re done investigating baseball players and ending the war, apparently in that order.
Anyway, I grew up in Indiana, which means I have absolutely no idea how daylight-saving time works. This is in addition to all the other bizarre chaos caused by growing up in Indiana: an irrational need to add four pounds of corn to every single thing I consume — including coffee, Cocoa Pebbles and corn bread (that last part works out OK, actually) — a need to develop an extremely strong opinion one way or another on Peyton Manning, and, of course, the annual Pilgrimage to Something John Mellencamp Is Doing. Indiana, unlike all the other, smarter, states in the union, has bravely forgone the idea that you should be able to drive to any part of the same state and know what time it is when you get there.
Rather, Indiana has adopted a patchwork quilt system, where many of the counties get to decide entirely by themselves what time zone they’re in. The decision is largely left in the hands of whoever in the county has the biggest makeshift basketball hoop nailed to the side of his barn. You can leave Lafayette at 10 a.m. Thursday and get to Bloomington three weeks later. We’ve tried to get Larry Bird on this, but he doesn’t return our calls anymore. Is this enough Indiana jokes in a row, you think? Because I can do this all afternoon.
Anyway, this is a problem for me because I moved around quite a bit during my growing up, from county to county — and thus time zone to time zone — so I never really learned properly how daylight-saving time operates. (I happily spent those brain cells learning a great deal about the G.I. Joe comic books, which has come in handy on so many occasions I can’t ever really begin talking about it.) And these days, my family regards me as something of a curiosity; every time there’s a daylight saving thing I get several dozen extremely hilarious e-mails on the order of, “Since we all know how hard this is for you and talk about it every year at Thanksgiving, set your clock AHEAD ONE HOUR on Saturday night, and if you need any other help with alarmingly basic math problems, you just let us know. Love, Mom.” (Bunch of wiseapples, the family is.)
But this year is different, and not just because I started practicing for the change in mid-November. I managed to change all the clocks in the house successfully ALL BY MYSELF, including the one on the VCR, which I still own for some reason. I celebrated this success by drinking a quart of pancake batter.
In addition, this year I am VINDICATED. As it turns out, not only is daylight saving time impossible to process, it doesn’t even work. Evidently, the whole idea was that daylight-saving time would save folks energy, and thus money. In reality, it COSTS THEM WAY WAY MORE, although by “way way” I mean “about three dollars a year, and I just lied to you.” Why this astonishing rise in energy costs? Well, it turns out that though lighting bills were reduced by the shift, air conditioners had to run more on hot afternoons and heaters had to be pumping on cool mornings.
But those are just the calculable expenses. Just imagine what this outdated, outmoded, antiquated and synapse-scrambling national nightmare has cost in mental anguish; it boggles the mind and is stressing me out. Luckily, I can generally make myself calm down with a nice bowl of corned-up Cocoa Pebbles.