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What’s the Deal w/ Daylight Savings Time?

Daylight savings time is upon us once again, that peculiar annual tradition where children dress in creepy costumes and venture out into the night to beg for candy. They will knock on your door while brandishing  pillowcases and singing “DST is coming, but nighttime is still dark – so give me all your candy before the ides of March.” Now it’s highly possible that I was the only child who did that. But I was a pretty weird kid, and my mother got a lot of sympathetic looks at the grocery store. Either way, that’s not specifically relevant. It really will be Daylight Savings Time here pretty quick. 

ldBenson keeping time with a Citizen watch from Lewisburg Diamond and Gold

So, SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAYMarch 13th is the start of Daylight Savings – two-o’clock in the morning, to be exact. And that always confused me. We’ve been programmed to set our clocks back an hour before we go to bed on Saturday night so as not to “forget.” And while we’re all snug as bugs in our little beds, two-o’clock is taken from us by the springtime boogeyman, and we’re just supposed to take it on faith that our missing hour will stay safe and protected until it is returned to us in November.

Where does our hour go? Do the timelords keep it in some intergalactic safety-deposit box? Does it accrue interest?

Where does our hour go? Do the timelords keep it in some intergalactic safety-deposit box? Does it accrue interest? If so, shouldn’t we get back like 1.219 hours at a prime rate? Something smells real fishy about this whole crazy situation.

Why do we do it? Well, in point of fact, not all of us do. Hawaii, for example, opted out of what’s known as the “Uniform Time Act” in 1967. Due to the island-state’s geographical placement in the world, their sunrises and sunsets stay fairly consistent throughout the year. Arizona is another state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings. Although this may be because Arizona’s average temperature is 197-degrees and the residents are just so angry that they don’t want to be bothered. I find that logic thoroughly understandable, even if I did just make it up.

So why do the rest of us do it? What’s the point? What lunatic would conceive such a devious plot to prematurely age all of us for half the year?

So why do the rest of us do it? What’s the point? What lunatic would conceive such a devious plot to prematurely age all of us for half the year? Well, in fact it was one of the most celebrated lunatics in American history – Mr. Benjamin Franklin. 

Franklin was a rockstar before rockstars were, you know, rockstars. He invented the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and bifocals, and authored “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” He also helped write a few other things you may have heard of – the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. Yes, exactly what you’re thinking…that Benjamin Franklin. But in fairness, he conceived DST as a practical joke, because he was that Benjamin Franklin.

In the mid-1970’s, a nationwide fuel shortage made people start thinking that sometimes it’s best to dance with the one who brung ya’, and suddenly Daylight Savings was the belle of the ball.

The standard reasoning behind the practice of DST is to save energy, and make better use of daylight hours. The United States first introduced DST during World War I, and then again during World War II in support of the war effort. It stuck around after that, but was taken about as seriously as any Nicolas Cage movie made after 1998. Then in the mid-1970’s, a nationwide fuel shortage made people start thinking that sometimes it’s best to dance with the one who brung ya’, and suddenly Daylight Savings was the belle of the ball. Cats all over the country had new reason to meow. 

This brings us to 2022, where Daylight Savings remains the status quo.

This brings us to 2022, where Daylight Savings remains the status quo. And it’s just completely wackadoo to think that we will be an hour younger at 2 a.m. on March 13th than we will be at 2:01. But it gets even wackadooier to think that there is no 2:01 on March 13th because the timelord boogeyman will steal two-o’clock. You could be out with your friends, tripping the light fantastic, and thinking you’ve got another hour before the bar closes. Then a minute later, somebody’s turning on the lights and saying you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. What a world we live in.

So, come Daylight Savings, I will again sing proudly: “DST is coming, but nighttime is still dark – so give me all your candy before the ides of March.”

Anyway, happy Daylight Savings Time, I guess. Thank you, Benjamin Franklin.

– Matthew Young, HashtagWV #140. March 2022.

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Matthew Young has been a resident of Lewisburg, WV since December 2019. Prior to arriving in West Virginia, Matthew resided in the Philadelphia area, where his reporting, commentary, and editorials have been featured in numerous local and regional publications. Previously, he has served as a scriptwriter and consultant for television, radio, and various other short-form digital-media platforms, both within the United States and internationally. Since moving to the Mountain State, Matthew spent eighteen months as senior writer/managing editor for the West Virginia Daily News and is currently an active journalist with the West Virginia Press Association.

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