Never time for Daylight Saving

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

By Tom Purcell

I’m already dreading it.

On Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m., daylight saving time, the practice of moving our clocks forward one hour in the spring and backward one hour in the fall, will commence.

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When I wake on March 11 – the time of which will depend on the pub I was drowning my DST sorrows at the night before – I will be short by one hour.

I will be in a stupor, for the most part, until November, when I must set my clocks back one hour – at which time I will officially resume my perpetual confusion about what the heck time it is.

Come Sunday, half the clocks in my house – those that have been off by an hour since November – will display the correct time.

The other half, which have displayed the correct time since November, will be wrong.

Thus, when I have business meetings or social engagements to attend, I’ll be one hour late or one hour early, but hardly ever on time.

Daylight saving time was first implemented in Thunder Bay, Canada, in 1908. The goal was to squeeze an extra hour of daylight out of a typical day.

The United States adopted the concept in 1918, but, reports, without uniform rules across all states, it resulted in widespread chaos in commerce and transportation.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 addressed that challenge by synchronizing the switch dates across the country.

In an effort to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo, Congress changed DST dates again – then changed them again in 1976.

From 1987 to 2006, the country observed yet another set of DST dates – which changed one more time in 2007, to our current March-and-November cycle.

Millions of Americans have been befuddled ever since.

I think a grand conspiracy is under way in which clear-headed “morning people” are attempting to use DST to swindle us “night-time people” and swipe our girlfriends while we are in a continuous state of fogginess.

I also think Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are in collusion to fatten profits.

Starbucks coffee has always been ridiculously expensive, but et tu, Dunkin’? I got a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee recently that was just shy of Starbucks’ exorbitant iced-coffee cost.

I suspect price-fixing. I suspect federal officials are being bribed to keep adjusting DST rules, so that we are forever groggy and grumpy, conditions that allow Big Coffee to fleece us.

Where is Special Counsel Robert Mueller when you need him?

In any event, an endless DST debate continues.

Proponents of DST say it gives us more daylight in spring and summer, which gets us out of the house and makes us happier.

Opponents say it makes spring and summer mornings darker, which makes us less productive at work most of the year. They also say it causes us to consume more energy.

I’m unable to participate in the conversation, however, because I haven’t finished my first pot of coffee.

As I see it, if DST is going to keep us forever disoriented, why adjust our clocks forward and backward by only one hour?

Why not move them forward to 2030 so I can begin collecting Social Security – or backward to 1984, when I had a 29-inch waist and was still able to date really good-looking ladies?

Whatever the case, my mother is especially worried about my difficulty adjusting to DST changes. She jokes that I’ll be late for my own funeral.

Or an hour early.

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.