I went to sleep this past Saturday night and something amazing happened. Somehow, at 1:59:59 a.m., time magically moved in reverse, for in a tick of a second, instead of it being 2 a.m., it became 1 a.m. again. I wished I would have seen it happening, but, once again, like every year, I slept through this timeless phenomenon.
Now, one would logically think, “Hey, that means that I will get an extra hour of sleep!” That would make sense, because the next morning 6 a.m. would actually be 5 a.m., and since you don’t normally get up until 6 a.m., then you can sleep 60 minutes more. Geesh, we should do this every Saturday night.
Now, that sounds good in theory, but in terms of practical bodily functions, it’s not really that great. First of all, my body tends to do whatever it wants to do. After it gets eight hours of sleep at night, it wakes up. Then it likes to welcome the new day with a trip to the bathroom. In other words, my body doesn’t care what you do with the hands of a clock because it’s always on Standard Penkava Time.
So forget the extra hour of sleep. Instead, I am now technically up an hour early. So there’s no extra sunlight, just darkness and the flush of the toilet. And, to top it off, this new day has 25 hours instead of 24. Oh, and by the way, it gets dark an hour earlier, too. Oh, happy day!
I don’t know about you, but all of this is making me think that it might not be a good idea to start messing around with Father Time. I mean, time seems to be one of those universal constants that has literally been around since the dawn of, well, itself. And scientists don’t even really know what time is, anyway. So who are we to start bantering it around like some chronological shuttlecock?
We’ve even taken time and divided it up into confusing zones that manipulate it, depending upon where you live. I mean, isn’t 5 p.m. simply 5 p.m.? How come it gets to be only 3 p.m. in California and we’re stuck with 5 p.m. here? Why do they get two extra hours?
I say let’s all get on the same timetable. There’s a simple solution to this. All you do is next Saturday night the people on the East Coast set their clocks back one hour. The people in the mountain areas set their clocks forward one hour. The folks on the West Coast move up two hours. We in the Midwest don’t do anything. Then, when we all wake up next Sunday, we’re all on the same schedule. We then get the other countries to go along and we’ll all live happily ever after in the Universal Time Zone.
Then again, there may be some value in periodically adjusting the way we measure other entities in our lives. Take, for example, liquid measures. We tend to drink more fluids in the summer. Why don’t we establish Liquid Savings Time during those months? A gallon takes on a greater volume and comes in a slightly larger container. Or how about Snowfall Savings Time, allowing a bit more accumulation before cranking up the snow blower. And let’s not forget about Pizza Savings Time during football season. Larger circumference, and a bit more cheese, please.
But until then, I guess we’re just stuck with time changes and time zones and standard pizza sizes. We’ll all adjust to early morning light and late afternoon darkness. And then miraculously, in the spring, time will silently reset itself and we’ll adapt again. For as Albert Einstein observed, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Quite a pithy aphorism, but, then again, he was always running on Standard Genius Theoretical Physicist Time.
• Michael Penkava is a retired teacher who taught for 35 years at West Elementary School in Crystal Lake. He has reset his internal body clock and is now flourishing on Standard Man Wants Bacon Time. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.