Sunday, November 1, 2009
I Hate Daylight Saving Time!
By Alan Caruba
I hate “Daylight Saving Time” and regard it as a totally bogus excuse to screw up everyone’s life in the quest for one more hour of daylight during the wintertime. This end-of-October ritual and its “spring forward” counterpart is idiotic.
The fact is the daylight or lack of it will be there no matter what the clocks say. You do not “gain” anything by having to change all your clocks and other time pieces. The day remains 24 hours. If you are too stupid to know that it is light or dark outside, nothing this government mandate does will be of much help.
My chief objection is that, ever since I was in sixth grade at Jefferson School and was selected to ring the bells in the morning, denoting that my fellow scholars had five minutes to scurry off to class or horror of horrors was late, I have been a clock-watcher. I have one in every room of my apartment, plus a wristwatch.
My late father was so punctual that it was routine for us to show up early at any event. He hated being late and regarded it as a signal character flaw. At social events, this invariably meant we were the first to arrive.
Which brings me to dinner time; at my home, dinner was served at five P.M. Eastern. My Mother, the author of two cookbooks, had taught thousands of men and women throughout New Jersey the art of gourmet cooking and dining, so I had the good fortune of sitting down to a king’s feast every evening. Thereupon, the wine and conversation flowed.
I tell you this so that you know that, at 5 P.M., no matter what time zone I may be in, my body is telling me to have dinner. In the 1980s when I traveled throughout the United States, if I was in the Pacific or Mountain Time zones, it played havoc with me. I wasn’t that thrilled with the Central time zone either.
In an interesting commentary published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, William F. Shughart II, the F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Mississippi and a senior fellow at The Independent Institute, says that it “has been known for years that shifting time forward or backward has negative, and possibly deadly, health consequences.”
Citing a Swedish study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on October 30, 2008, Shughart notes that there were reports “in the incidence of myocardial infarction, i.e., heart attacks, after the beginning of daylight-saving time and the subsequent return to standard time.”
“The underlying causal mechanism has to do with how the hypothalamus regulates humankind’s circadian rhythms. When the ‘clock’ that governs the body’s internal physical, chemical, electrical, hormonal, and immunological environment to the new conditions” must adjust to an artificial change, it affects the entire body.
In layman’s terms, this is why millions of Americans will put in a groggy couple of days at school, on the job, or just tending to homemaking duties. It clearly puts drivers at risk. And it will kill some folks.
Here’s the kicker, some 1.5 billion people around the world are affected by this meaningless effort to get an “extra” hour of sunlight. In a global economy, many companies located overseas that provide technical support and other services to U.S. businesses must adjust to New York time as well.
It is time to for the United States to rid itself of Daylight Saving Time and stop annoying its citizens as well as those in far flung lands that must suffer our foolishness.
Leave my circadian cycles alone!