There goes an hour we'll never see again
Time, as the longtime Southern Oregon philosopher Steve Miller famously wrote, keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the futurrrrrrrre.
I’m guessing, actually, on the number of r’s in “future” — since lyrics to “Fly Like an Eagle” found on internet sites usually just go with one despite the fact it sounds like there are a whole lot more in there.
We, however, don’t have a moment to lose on segues (yeah, right), especially today — which, as we all remember (yeah, right), is the shortest of the year running as it does for 23 hours, give or take your adherence to governmentally mandated clock-setting.
But fear not, fellow travelers along the space-time continuum, for it is that same government sundial — in a striking display of what in days of yore was called bipartisanship — who have banded together to spare us from our long national nightmare of coordinating our manual timepieces .. and the accompanying annoyance of the mocking from young’uns who note their screens spring forward (and fall back) automatically.
Besides, they taunt metaphysically, does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care? (Oops, wrong philosopher.)
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden — along with such political opposites as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Roy Blunt of Missouri — has introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which not only would make Daylight Saving Time permanent unilaterally across the country ... but would also save us from who insist on putting an “s” at the end of Saving.
In a statement, Wyden calls the bill “a common-sense step to provide some much-needed stability for families in Oregon. Springing forward and falling back year after year only creates unnecessary confusion.”
Well, they’re right about that: If there’s anyone who be expert on the creation of “unnecessary” confusion — as opposed to, well, the other kind — it’s members of the United States Senate.
The Horology Department at Since You Asked World Headquarters, meanwhile, is in the midst of one of its twice-yearly peak seasons, when questions spring forward over whether Oregon hasn’t already taken care of this nuisance.
Upon which, the SYA horologist watchdogs fall back on the same answer: Yes and no.
Oregon, Washington and California entered into an agreement in 2018 to synchronize their chronometers ... as long as all three states passed a law saving us from waking at 1:55 in the ante meridiem and changing our alarm clocks.
Oregon and Washington did so in no time, so to speak, but the figurative third hand literally stalled in the California legislature because well, it’s California, so why add another hour to residents’ commute?
After all, when accused by Mr. Hand of wasting his time, philosopher and future California legislator Jeff Spicoli was quick (for him) to answer.
“I’ve been thinking about this,” he said, “If I’m here and you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time?”
Why, yes it does and, although we don’t have a pizza to split, we can agree that “our time” has some intrinsic value at least to us.
Along with citing numerous health, safety, agricultural and economic benefits — for instance, when President Reagan signed a bill in 1986 lengthening DST to seven months, it meant an estimated $200 million gain to the golf industry — a permanent Daylight Savings (aaarrggghhh) Time would allow us an extra hour of walking on sunshine.
Of course, there are naysayers out there, smelling of elderberries and worried about losing the benefits of longer periods of being unnecessarily confused in the dark, but those who would say “Ni!” to such black nights don’t have a leg to stand on as they lobby on behalf of three groups
Others are advocating for a Kumbayarian-Solomonic approach: Split the hour in half, and just permanently push the clocks ahead (or back) by a half-hour.
Those are people who believe everything they see on the internet ... even the time.
The Sunshine Protection Act was introduced initially by Sen. Rubio in 2019, where it gained some bipartisan support before running out of steam. Congress obviously was too busy doing whatever it is Congress does to consider spending energy on passing the bill.
Or, perhaps, they were necessarily confused by Subsection 1 of Section 2 of the legislation, which reads as follows:
The second sentence of subsection (a) of section 1 of the Act of March 19, 1918 (commonly known as the “Calder Act”) (15 U.S.C. 261), is amended—
(A) by striking “4 hours” and inserting “3 hours”;
(B) by striking “5 hours” and inserting “4 hours”;
(C) by striking “6 hours” and inserting “5 hours”;
(D) by striking “7 hours” and inserting “6 hours”;
(E) by this point, shouldn’t they say “and so on and so forth”;
(F) by striking “8 hours” and inserting “by 7 hours”;
(G) by striking “9 hours” and inserting “8 hours”;
(H) by striking “10 hours;” and inserting “9 hours;”;
(I) by now, you’re the only one still reading this;
(J) by striking “11 hours” and inserting “10 hours”; and
(K) by striking “10 hours” and inserting “11 hours.”
Still, if this long dazed journey out of night finally does become law before we would fall back this year someone is going to owe us an hour for the 60 minutes we just lost.
And when we get it, I’m going to take a nap.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin is in a perpetual state of confusement at email@example.com