Keeping daylight saving time would be cuckoo

Twice a year I have a 50-50 chance of messing up the front page of the Sentinel. This year I did just that, and possibly aided people in being late to work on Monday.

Daylight saving time, otherwise known as the Biannual Menace, makes it necessary to move our clocks ahead an hour or back an hour. Spring forward; fall back.

Despite the ice and chilly temperatures, it’s nearing spring and clocks should have been set forward one hour on Sunday morning, not back an hour as the graphic on the front page of last week’s paper instructed. I build those graphics. I build the paper. That was my mistake.

Thanks to the watchful eye of reader Walter Moorhead, I now know the error of my ways, for which I’m grateful. We try to keep the mistakes at zero, but some things squeak through, no matter how many times we proof a page.

But let’s be honest here: DST is a waste of time. It’s ticked past its prime, if ever it had a prime. Nobody wants it. It’s dividing families and ruining Thanksgiving gatherings.

In March of last year, the U.S. Senate finally, miraculously made itself useful by passing the Sunshine Protection Act — unanimously, I might add — which would keep the country on one set time. Though it wasn’t decided if that would be standard time or daylight saving time. It would have made changing our clocks unnecessary this year. It never passed the House.

DST was first used in the U.S. in 1918 for seven months as part of an energy-conservation tactic during World War I. It was later enacted in 1974 on a permanent basis.

All sorts of excuses have been used to keep it, from blaming farmers who want more sunny harvesting hours (most farmers have lobbied against DST) to keeping schoolchildren safe, because it’s somehow pitch-black at 7:30 a.m. when they’re waiting for the bus and everyone drives to work with their headlights off.

It’s argued that it gives people an extra hour of daylight after work so they can feel more energetic and be more productive. That makes absolutely no sense in Alaska where we go from one extreme to the other. One hour at either end of the workday isn’t going to make a difference.

In a Reuters report last year, New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, “The loss that one hour of sleep seems to impact us for days afterwards. It can also cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and pets.”

I agree with Pallone. Adjusting to that added or lost hour of sleep screws up the biological clock. I don’t know about the part about pets, though. My cats will sleep all day anyway.

Let’s finally come together as a country and unite against a common enemy. Let’s set our clocks and leave them alone, once and for all. Then I don’t have to worry about getting it right in the paper.


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