They say spring ahead, we spring ahead. They say fall back, we fall back. But come this Sunday at 2 a.m., I--in the noble tradition of Mohandas Gandhi and Frank Bruno--will nonviolently resist. And on Monday, like Martin Luther King Jr., I will sit alone with a pen and paper and draft my "Letter from a Manhattan Restaurant Where I'm Alone Because I'm an Hour Late to Meet a Friend."
I have hated daylight-saving time since the 153rd time it was explained to me. I hate the useless mnemonic device (Why can't you "spring back" or "fall ahead"?). I hate getting caught in that grating conversation that starts with "Does that mean I get an extra hour of sleep or have to wake up an hour early?" I hate unnecessarily complicating something as simple as the time. Daylight-saving time costs this country $100 billion a year in missed meetings and wasted labor reprogramming VCRs. That figure, for those wondering, was calculated by taking the number $100 billion and inserting it in the sentence above. This Sunday a good portion of dinner conversations, the nightly news and the newspaper will be spent informing people of the time change. This means we will know significantly less about what Elian Gonzalez's relatives did on Saturday. You can't put a price tag on a little boy's life.
Perhaps a more graphic example is Union City, Ind., which does not observe daylight saving, and neighboring Union City, Ohio, which does. These two communities, both strapped for cash, tried to merge their municipal services. But they could not--just because of the time difference. Not since the abolition of the light brown M&M has an issue so divided a nation.
What my campaign needed, I decided, was an enemy, someone to rally against. At first I heard that daylight saving was started by the barbecue lobby, trying to claim an extra hour of grilling time. But most people said it was the farmers. Being Jewish, I don't know any farmers, so I called Susan Peery, managing editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. She told me that farmers actually protested daylight saving because it messed with nature and interrupted their milking schedule. So now I like farmers. I'm trying to do some coalition building here.
As it turns out, changing the clocks was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in a 1784 essay called "Turkey vs. Eagle, McCauley Is My Beagle." For those who do not know, Franklin was a drinker. Nevertheless, his idea was put into practice during World War I, when Congress forced the clocks ahead an hour to save electricity that would have been used to light people's homes at night. After the war, the clocks didn't go back, the Germans regrouped, and those trenches became traffic nightmares. Not a good war.
So this weekend I implore you to refuse to spring ahead. Imagine, 270 million of us at 2 a.m. on Sunday, all just leaving our clocks alone. I think that will make somebody notice.
If my crusade doesn't work, at least I'll have this article to show the 60 Minutes producers when Andy Rooney retires.