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Larry Banman: Daylight saving time does have a light side

Larry Banman
Without a Doubt

Daylight saving time ended more than a week ago. I usually take that opportunity to whine about what I believe to be the pointless exercise of moving clocks an hour forward in the spring and then reversing that procedure in the fall.

I whine more in the spring than the fall, because I resent losing an hour of sleep. There is also the issue of an aging body trying to adjust to the change in time. I have never experienced jet lag, but I often wonder if the time change gives all of us a little touch of that phenomenon.

This year I thought I might spare you the ignominy of another rant. I have been lobbying for years to either do away with daylight saving time or change it permanently. I prefer to do as they do in Arizona, and refuse to change the time.

I like summer days, but those days that last until after 9 p.m. are too long for my taste.

However, in the spirit of compromise, I would be willing to go with daylight saving time on a year-round basis. Just stop messing with my internal clock.

Alas, it is quite obvious to me that the people who make these decisions could not care less about my physical well being or my mental stability.

This autumn, I decided to stop looking at the dark side and see if I could find some positives in the time change.

The first positive is that the first day, when we go back to standard time, is 25 hours long. Many of us wish the days could be longer so we get more done. Well, on Nov. 4 this year, we all had a longer day. It’s kind of like when you travel west and cross a time zone, you get the gift of time. How did you utilize your hour?

Sunrise was an hour later on Nov. 4. For those of you who love it when you wake up and realize you have an extra hour to say in bed and sleep, you likely got a bonus.

I have always liked the mornings and the promise of a new beginning that a sunrise symbolizes. That is my No. 1 gripe about daylight saving time.

Its very purpose is to rob an hour of sunshine from the morning and add it to the evening. I don’t know about you, but if I haven’t accomplished my tasks by 8 p.m., adding an additional hour generally just prolongs the agony. I prefer the mornings and, in my mind, daylight saving time is a thief that steals from the morning.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted daylight saving Time, called “War Time,” from February 1942 to Sept. 30, 1945. After the war, most of the county returned to standard time, because most people got up earlier and went to bed earlier than they do today.

Now, if your day is going well and you are in production mode, that extra hour is nice.

If you are traveling, it is nice to have an extra hour of light to reach your destination. I must admit that the extra hour has saved me a time or two from a day that had been completely unfruitful.

I didn’t realize that after World War II, there was no federal regulation regarding daylight saving time. States and localities were free to observe daylight saving time and could choose when it began and ended. Imagine the confusion.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act. In some form or another, we have had daylight saving time ever since.

And that reminds me of another positive. On that first day of daylight saving time back in the 1970s, one of my uncles stayed awake until 2 a.m. to “observe” the historic change.

I don’t know exactly what he noticed, but sometimes on the plains of Kansas, you take entertainment in whatever form you can.


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