“Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go.”— Austin Dobson (January 18, 1840 – September 2, 1921) English poet and essayist
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With the “fall back” version of our biannual time change coming up tonight, I’m voting to award the funniest online poster for 2020 to one that proclaims, “I am not setting my clock back in November. I do not want another hour of 2020.”
Whether you love or despise daylight savings time (DST), there’s perhaps more truth than humor in Dobson’s notion considering our nation’s “current distress.” It’s not documented whether he was commenting on daylight savings time although it’s possible because he died in 1921 in England and DST was introduced in Britain in1916. The first implementation of DST in the world was in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada on July 1, 1908, after it was first proposed in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson touting it to give him leisure time after work to collect insects.
DST was first enacted in the U.S. in 1918. It was abandoned by many countries in the years after World War II but resumed by most again by the 1970s. And while 26 states have considered making DST permanent since, Americans remain divided on its usefulness.
With daylight savings time for 2020 just a few days away, I’m betting the truth is you’re either looking forward to that extra hour of sleep Saturday night or you’re bemoaning how badly you’re going to feel because the time change disrupts your sleep patterns. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve long been accused of being able to fall asleep propped up in the corner of a noisy room any time of day. In my book, sleep is sleep, whenever you get it.
As for the aforementioned humorous aspect of it, the time change also reminds me of DST’s post-WW II return to the U.S. after Congress established The Uniform Time Act of 1966. It was my second semester at Kilgore College when life was good for the students comprising the majority of the residents at the Leigh Apartments on North Henderson. The usual afternoon pastime event for the guys was a parking lot lawn chair reviewing stand watching for girls and cool cars cruising the city’s main thoroughfare. Those of us holding down lawn chair duty late that first DST Sunday Spring afternoon were greeting residents returning from a weekend at home when one of the earlier “arrivalees” parked, checked in, and opted out of lawn chair duty to invest his time in a nap.
Sometime later, the rest of us (names withheld to protect the guilty) were marveling at the unique feeling created by changing the clocks, and how much the seven-ish p.m. dusky daylight closely resembled the seven-ish a.m. of the prior day’s sunrise. It was from that discussion on how the end of that day might be easily mistaken for yesterday’s morning time that a diabolical scheme developed for what seemed like the perfect prank.
A coin toss was conducted to pick the perpetrator—the one to wake the napper fast asleep in his apartment convincing him the seven-ish outside was Monday morning instead of Sunday evening. “You think he’ll fall for it,” asked one of the lawn chair geniuses? “Sure he will,” the others echoed in unison. With that vote of confidence, the instigator went to deliver the message. “Hey, wake up. You’re oversleeping. You’re about to miss your first class.”
In a flash, the still groggy napper ran toward his car, dropping books while attempting to tuck shirttails and fumbling with keys. We all sat silently in the lawn chairs and watched with straight faces, astonished that he never stopped to wonder why we were still calmly lounging in the street-side reviewing stand when it was supposedly time for class.
Laughter erupted as he cleared the parking lot racing for the campus. We were still chuckling a short time later when he drove slowly back up the hill to the apartments, parked, and went into his apartment without a word for any of us: at least none that were audible.
Eventually however, he resumed speaking to us possibly attributable to another well-known axiom about the value of time. The one about how time heals all wounds and wounds all heels, or something like that.
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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune, the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.
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