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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Weekend Werind: Behind the Times

It seems it’s Daylight Savings time again. I won’t assail you with my feelings on this twice-yearly affront to Father Time in this space; that’s what today’s ‘werind’ link later on is for. Instead, I’ll just relay a quick story about how faithlessly we adhere to DST practices in my house — and how even when I’m not being a smartass, I’m being a smartass. Good times.

“On the mantel is a clock that her father gave us a while back — a Christmas or birthday or ‘thanks for graduating college so the crippling tuition payments could stop’ anniversary present, I forget which.”

Yesterday, my wife walked into the living room, moseyed past her usual couch position, and made her way toward the mantel on the opposite wall. On the mantel is a clock that her father gave us a while back — a Christmas or birthday or ‘thanks for graduating college so the crippling tuition payments could stop’ anniversary present, I forget which. There’s nothing else of interest on the mantel near the clock — assuming a thin layer of dust doesn’t pique your fancy particularly — and my wife was making a beeline right for it.

I asked what she was up to.

I’m going to fix the clock, finally.

But wait,‘ I protested, wanting to put off the nightmare of clock adjustment until the last possible moment, ‘Daylight Savings isn’t until tomorrow.

She gave me that ‘getouttaheah‘ look that most husbands come to know so well. I get getouttheah‘ed an awful lot, so I recognized it straightaway. What I didn’t know is why it was pointed at me. This was yesterday, so Daylight Savings really was tomorrow. Which is today. Which is when it is. I’m not making this up. I’m only making it unnecessarily complicated. And at the time, I wasn’t even doing that. I did my best to explain all of this as eloquently and succinctly as possible:


She looked over her shoulder at me, eyes narrowed. ‘Are you bullshitting me?

I assured her that no, for perhaps the first time in our eighteen-plus years together, I was not bullshitting her. Daylight Savings is tomorrow, and let’s wait until then to set all the clocks.

It’s really tomororow?

I had no idea my credibility had slipped so far. And isn’t it always on a Sunday? Did she want to hear it directly from Ben Franklin’s rotting corpse, or what? Yes, tomorrow is Daylight Savings, and what’s the big deal here?

Her look turned sheepish and she said, ‘Oh. I didn’t know it was that close. I was actually just getting around to fixing this clock from when we were supposed to turn the clocks back.

I see. Yeah, you might be just a smidgen tardy for that. But feel free to correct the clock for the next seven hours or so, if it makes you feel any better. Me, I’d probably just sit the whole cycle out and call it even when morning rolls around. You can give it another shot next fall, there, buckaroo.

(Okay, so I didn’t start out being a smartass. But I did end up being a smartass. Hell, it had to happen sooner or later.)

In my wife’s defense, this particular clock is more ornamental than functional. It’s got this weirdly cool mirrored pendulum gizmo that looks interesting and chic from across the room on the couch — but I don’t think I’ve ever actually looked at it to tell the current time. The thing could have all the numbers backward and be telling the time in East Timor for all I know. It still looks cool. And I’m okay with that.

Also in my wife’s defense, Daylight Savings time is a colossal pain in the chronographical ass. Which is mostly what I said — in far, far more many words — a couple of Aprils back, when I wrote Spring Forward, Screw You.

If you’re struggling today to set your VCRs, alarms and analog wristwatches to keep up with the new official time, you might enjoy it. Or at least empathize with a doofus like me who’s tired of springing and falling and setting and adjusting all the damned time. Call it ‘morning’ or ‘noonish’ or ‘time for a beer’ and let us off the hook, already.

And if you happen to have your own little clock on the mantel, or in the spare bedroom or off in a corner somewhere, I say just leave it alone today. You probably never look at the thing anyway, and it’ll probably be weeks before you even notice it’s wrong.

Or maybe, if you’re lucky, it’ll be six full months — and you can ride the wave till next time. I think my wife’s onto something here.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “Weekend Werind: Behind the Times”

  1. Amy Jo says:

    Now, see…I was all ready to give you kudos for bucking DST. I know why it was started but think it’s ridiculous that we keep it up.

    But now I just sit saddened by the fact that I have no clock on MY mantel. I smell a shopping trip.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Charlie says:

    Thanks for the note, Amy Jo!

    And are you telling me that you have no purely-ornamental, possibly-very-wrong, probably-regifted clock on your mantel? What’re ya, still living in the Stone Ages?

    Sounds like it’s time for a shopping trip. This is 2009, for crissakes.

    At least, I think it is. The mantel clock says it’s 2317. But it might be a tad off.

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