Ask the CP: Daylight Savings Time
Dear Connections Pastor:
Can you explain Daylight Savings Time to me, the general public? What is it? Why do we need it? Could we live without it?
Springing Forward in Fuquay
You’ve asked a very good question, and I promise to go to great lengths of journalistic acrobatics in order to answer it. Or I’ll make something up on the spot…whichever I have time for.
Daylight Savings Time was invented by a measure of the Continental Congress in 1887. (They had originally intended to pass it in 1821, but Ted Kennedy filibustered for a few decades.) The Continental Congress had been in discussions with the ancient Romans, who invented time many, many years ago, but we can’t know for sure when they invented time because they didn’t invent watches until sometime later (they also didn’t have moleskine journals, so nobody thought to write it down).
The tipping point for Daylight Savings Time came after Massachusetts senator Wilbert O’Grady – a devout atheist – decided to embark upon a plan to confuse church people until Jesus comes back. Wilbert envisioned two days per year when church people would all show up at church at completely the wrong times. He thought it would be fun to see people wandering in long after the service had started, often coming in just in time for the closing announcements (little did he know that the Summit Church in Durham, NC would raise that to an art form and do it every Sunday of the year).
O’Grady was also the person who invented the tag line “Spring Forward, Fall Back.” This caught on considerably faster than his Democratic counterpart’s suggestion for a tag line: “Add an hour in the spring, take one away in the fall, and remember that Rush Limbaugh is a moron.”
Some historians believe that Daylight Savings Time was introduced as a way of giving farmers more time to put out seeds, bring in the harvest, and build more barns. But that seems silly, so we will dismiss it offhandedly. We now know that Daylight Savings Time came at the bequest of the powerful 9-volt battery lobbyists, who were incredibly passionate about making sure that the smoke alarms were tested twice a year. This is intriguing, since smoke alarms and 9-volt batteries hadn’t been invented, either.
Today, Daylight Savings Time has evolved into a fun and frolicky twice-per-year clip art fest on the local news channels, where everyone has a jaunty little clock on the five day weather map to represent that clocks should roll forward or backward. And as mentioned before, it plays havoc on church members everywhere, who should probably just set their clocks forward as soon as they read this answer and hope for the best.
Thanks for writing!
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No kidding…set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night, or we’ll laugh at you on Sunday morning. F’real.