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Thirty-Ninth Sort

What's with all this 'Daylight Savings Time?'

by Dear Jon
April 9, 2001

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Thirty-Ninth Sort_Dear Jon-What's with all this 'Daylight Savings Time?' ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON

Dear Jon,
What's with all this "Daylight Savings Time?" What the heck are we saving? Time?? Seems to me we're actually LOSING time! That and a good night's sleep! Why do we put up with all this silly nonsense?

Grumpy from lack of sleep


Dear Grumpy,

I'm sure Sleepy isn't happy about it either, even if you're both Dopey.

"Daylight Savings Time" probably confuses the same people who are confused about the date the 21st Century began, and are confused about American federalism. Compare the logic: "But I've LOST an hour of sleep! That's LOSING time!" "But the '19' turned into a '20'!" "But Gore got more votes!"

"Daylight Savings" began as a strategy in warfare which allowed maneuvers to continue later into the evening. If the sun sets at 9 PM instead of 8 PM, that's a whole extra hour to position the guns and set a perimeter. Whiners like yourself complain that the sun rises an hour later too, which is true. But it's easier to get going in the dark when you know where you are, then it is to stop in the dark and try to camp in unfamiliar terrain.

Today, we don't use soldiers with guns to fight wars. We use Presidents, economic sanctions and cruise missiles. However, the convention was adopted in the United States, and I like it. It means that after work, I have an additional hour of recreation in the light of day. And think about it. Do you REALLY want the sun to rise at 4:30 in the morning, filling your bedroom with its glow? Not unless you're nuts. 5:30 is bad enough, but for crying out loud, 4:30 is still the middle of the night! Let the sky be dark at 4:30 AM. This is why we call it "Daylight SAVINGS." We are saving for our use at 8 PM, the light of day that would have been squandered at 4:30 AM.

Folks are normally "grumpy" about this in April. By Memorial Day they are taking the evening sun for granted. Then in October they're whooping it up because they get an extra hour of sleep. I'm sure when you've had your nap, you'll be all better.

Be sure to read Dear Jon's bonus article, The Role of Snobbery in American Culture, posted on April 9, 2001.

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