Charlie Harper: It’s Daylight Complaining Time Again

Charlie Harper

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

This is the week we “Spring Forward”.  That’s both a public service announcement, as well as your warning that the semi-annual kerfuffle over time changes is about to inundate your social media feeds.  

Despite virtually every adult understanding that there are still only 24 hours in a day, and that an hour is neither gained nor lost in reality, the time change has become a familiar ax for some to grind.  It’s risen to the point that legislators have taken notice, with the Georgia House and Senate each passing differing measures to “fix” this perceived problem.

I’ll admit before I begin that much of what follows is good natured ribbing of the entire exercise.  I know both sponsors of the competing bills in the House and the Senate, and they’re not only good legislators, but this isn’t the only bill their working on.  

Both are quite capable of multi-tasking, and thus this isn’t a “don’t they have anything better to do” kind of column.  Quite the opposite.  My premise is that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and responding to concerns expressed by their constituents.

And therein lies the first potential problem.  I’m guessing most of us don’t really care much about Daylight Saving Time.  I do know that most people do like to complain about things.  And I’ve attended a few too many 3 day off-site corporate seminars to reach the predetermined conclusion that people fear change.  

Daylight Saving Time forces us into an arbitrary but well established change. The premise here is that because it’s unnecessary, removing the change will reduce the anxiety related to change. I’m guessing the intended result is that we will have peace in our time and prosperity will fall upon all of our lands.

That’s not how human nature works.  Changing the semi-annual change will just bring more change.  Again, we’re resistant to changes, even when the change is not to change.  

The people currently ignoring this monumental problem will wake up one day and want to know why we no longer get an extra hour of daylight if we adopt the Senate version of the “fix” to remain on standard time year-round.  If the House version is adopted, we’ll wonder why it’s so dark for so long on winter mornings when we go to permanent Daylight Saving Time.

Under both scenarios as I understand them, we’ll have people openly complaining why our TV shows arbitrarily start an hour sooner or later twice a year, and we’ll have to remember that sometimes our west coast relatives are three hours behind us, and other times of the year they’re just two hours behind.  

That means we’re just adding math into the equation.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the people who believe stopping the foolishness of the time change are under the impression that there would be no math.  We don’t need consultants to tell us that people hate math more than they hate change.

The good thing about adopting any of these proposals is that the general public will still have a lot to complain about.  They’ll just have to change what about Daylight Saving Time they’re complaining about, which means more change.  

Given that the House and Senate solutions are polar opposites of each other, it’s not likely that we’ll settle this issue this year.  That’s probably best, given that there’s no real consensus that there even is a problem to solve, much less how to solve it.  Politicians that fix this “problem” are likely to see even more ire if their bills are signed into law than if absolutely nothing happens from here.

The good news is that by the time the legislature gavels out Sine Die at the end of this month, most of us and our pets will have adjusted.  There will not be casualties due to the abrupt yet totally scheduled and expected arbitrary change of our clocks.  I have full confidence that those complaining about this will have found something else to complain about by then.