I’m writing this at 5:30AM on Sunday, March 14, 2010, except actually it’s 6:30 AM now. Why? Because at around 2:00AM last night, Daylight Savings Time took effect. Throughout my life, I have heard several reasons why Daylight Savings Time (DST) was instituted in the first place, most of them having to do with farmers having an extra hour of daylight to get the Spring planting done or something archaic like that. Yesterday however, I read an article in the Grass Valley Union about the entire history of the time shift movement, and as with all great American ideas, it started with Mrs. Franklin’s little boy, Bennie, somewhere back in the 1780’s.
Old Ben was sitting around one evening and had a thought…it went something like, “You know, shopkeepers and office worker’s could save a whole lot on candles if it stayed lighter an extra hour for a part of the year,the dark part, that is, which would also dovetail quite nicely with the whole- ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ thing I’ve been working on.” But the Colonists, still in the middle of trying to form the United States after finding themselves revolting (from Great Britain’s point of view) were a little too busy just then to start fucking with clock keys and besides, the powerful candle maker’s political action committee was against it as well. Their reasoning was, “Sure Ben, great thought and all, but you realize we’re gonna lose a bunch of cash on the deal and anyway, unless we can get the Red Coats and Hessians to go along with it as well, all our battle schedules will get all fucked up…someone’s always gonna be an hour late or early, depending. Say, here’s a thought- why don’t you tie a metal key to a kite string and just go stand in outside in a lightning storm for awhile?”
In addition to C-Pac (in this case the ‘C’ stood for candle), most of the original Tea Partier’s also found they quite liked candles, especially when paired with a good Barry White CD…that and a dram or two of rum or a flagon of ale really set the mood, so the idea languished.
Then came World War I and President Woodrow Wilson revived the idea, this times using farmers getting an extra hour to do the Spring planting rational- good for the war effort and all that- as a reason and the time change idea was temporarily enacted. Then the war ended (we won, by the way) and the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition started. Americans had moved away from Barry White during the Victorian Era; musical tastes do change, after all. They also realized (and this was far more important) that the speakeasy’s usually didn’t open till after dark and a few slugs of bathtub gin- that and Eddie Cantor crooning The Sheik of Araby- were all you needed to get a drunk Flapper chick into the rumble seat. Due to Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb, the candle making lobby had lost a lot of political clout, but the reasons for keeping Americans in the dark (one of every C-Pac’s goals from the beginning) was still sound, so the Daylight Savings idea was once again turned back. It didn’t Spring forward again till World War II, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt re-instated it.
But the times, they were a changing…after WWII (which we won too, by the way), the people who brought you the two biggest booms of the Twentieth Century, the baby and atom bomb, decided that they’d had enough of war and battle, so the idea of keeping their spoiled little brats outside for an extra hour while they slugged a couple more apr