I have not yet fully recovered from something silly that happened a week and a half ago. You’d think that an extra hour of sleep wouldn’t be something that would require a recovery period.
But when statistics for the past week or so are compiled, they will almost certainly show a spike in car accidents, in-home injuries, and absences from work.
It’s not just the amount of sleep that is the culprit, it’s the massive change in our circadian rhythm.
People who are normally confused by driving (nearly everyone believes they are significantly better than average drivers, which is proof enough that most of us are confused) go through a period of general confusion as their brains try to settle with a new reality.
The new reality we’ve had to deal with over the past week is one in which all the cats and dogs in our lives, not to mention pigs and cows and little children, seem to expect to be fed an hour earlier.
That’s because, unlike us, cats and dogs and pigs and cows – and children too young to understand what the shifting numbers on the microwave mean – aren’t as silly as the rest of us.
Their universe is ruled by their circadian rhythm, a natural 24-hour clock that evolved to help us all to go to sleep at night and start foraging for breakfast in the morning.
The cows, cats, dogs, and tykes haven’t heard of Benjamin Franklin, a guy who, let’s face it, had a heck of a sense of humour… but his joke should have died with him more than two hundred years ago.
You see, the idea of daylight saving time is millennia old. But it didn’t get a real foothold until Benny joked about getting Frenchmen out of their beds an hour earlier to conserve candle wax.
Unfortunately for us, somebody didn’t realize he was kidding – just poking a little fun at his French friends – et voila! We have bumper cars and people falling off ladders twice every year.
It’s not like this hasn’t been tried before.
There are indications that ancient civilizations toyed with the idea, maybe even trying it for a while, then usually scrapping it before long.
The Romans grabbed that ball and ran with it for several hundred years, making seasonal adjustments to their water clocks to “compensate” for the normal course of the day.
It only proves that someone back then had a Franklinesque sense of humour, and just as there always is, there was someone in a position of authority who didn’t get the joke.
Or maybe they did get the joke. But just like when they entertained themselves by feeding Christians to the lions, or biting the heads off ostriches, or staging deadly wars and sea battles in the Coliseum, it was a case of someone taking the joke way, way too far.
There has been a lot of speculation about what may have caused the Roman Empire to collapse.
Maybe it was Daylight Saving Time.
Maybe the people stopped laughing, but the powers-that-be kept poking them with that same old groaner year after year, until no one could take it anymore.
It’s time to recognize that, like all good jokes eventually do, this one’s getting old.
It’s time to roll off a good belly laugh, admit to Ben Franklin, wherever he may or may not be, that we’ve been had, and by Jimminy, that was a real knee-slapper… and stop injecting our whole social system with a case of jet lag every few months or so.