Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset ...

OK, enough is enough.

I have been waiting since 1945 for the U.S. government to get its act together regarding daylight savings time. We gave up growing Victory Gardens in our backyards when The War was over, and food and gas rationing also went away, not to mention those sad little banners with red stars we put in our front windows showing that we had a family member in the military, or even sadder, gold stars meaning our soldier had been killed. The term “gold-star mother” was eliminated from our vocabularies. We stopped buying war bonds, and the Friday grammar school ritual of bringing a quarter to buy a stamp to stick in our war bond booklet until we had amassed $18.50 for a complete war bond went away, too.

Housewives stopped saving grease and tin cans and kids stopped saving tin foil gum wrappers to help the war effort. Soldiers and sailors and marines and WACs and WAVEs came home, we tidied up the big mess Hitler had made of Europe and sent Care Packages to hungry people overseas, and life returned to what I assume was normal, because I can’t remember much before the war.

But ... freakin’ daylight savings time is still with us! Why is this?

This utterly stupid idea started in 1918, during the First World War, and was abandoned in a hurry in 1919 because everybody hated it. It was brought back in 1942 when America entered the Second World War, in order to save energy and permit longer working hours. It was called “War Time” then, and it was in effect all year long. No switching back and forth. After the war, the Feds abandoned War Time, but some states kept it, some didn’t. The railroads fussed and fussed because every state had its own system. So finally, in the 1960s and 70s, uniform time laws were passed incorporating "War Time" for everybody, and now we all have to change our clocks twice a year together. To what purpose, nobody knows.

Everyone in favor of daylight savings time, raise your hand. I didn’t think so.

Did I point out that this is stupid? How about dangerous, too. Heart attacks increase in the three days following the spring change. Traffic accidents go up. Pedestrian fatalities skyrocket in the fall after the change as drivers adjust to driving at dusk. Everybody gets annoyed and grumbles. This idiot law has no purpose and no function.

So, apparently, I will have to solve this for the U.S. government.

Here’s what we do: Compromise. Let’s change our clocks by 1/2 hour and leave them there forever. OK? Is everybody happy now? You’ve got a little extra sunshine at the end of the workday for everybody who cares about that stuff, and a little extra darkness in winter for everybody who wants that, vampires or whatever.


On the Lou Gehrig’s Disease front, there is more good news coming from Washington, to wit, the application time for social security benefits has been speeded up for fatal diseases with short lifespans, including ALS. (If our bureaucrats can figure that one out, how come they can’t figure out that daylight savings time isn’t saving anybody any daylight or any time?)

Also, a new ALS online forum has just been formed to try to increase public awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. We’re hoping that not only patients with ALS and their caregivers will join this effort, but also family members and friends of patients ... and also members of the public who want to pitch in with ideas and help support the search for a cure. (It’s a free forum ... we’re looking for moral support, ideas and helping hands.)

The forum is called ALS Matters: You'll have to cut and paste the url, because I cannot for the life of me make this program put in a live link:

You’re invited to check it out, and join us (i.e., register) if you’re interested.

As for me, I’m still here. Yabba dabba doo.