Ryan Slabaugh: A revolution of the sleepiest kind
I’m sure bending the ears of presidents is not an easy task. Just getting close enough to audibly influence the First Lobe is tough enough, and then mustering the courage to speak remarkable truths in that moment, well, takes lumps. Big lumps.
But assuming Obama will continue the trend of living thousands of miles away and being distracted by world politics, we’ll have to simulate the moment. Make it up, if you will.
So, tossing truths aside, let me paint a fictitious picture to reach a factual point … It’s a normal work day, long enough in the sun’s cycle to shorten the shadows and silence our treetops of nagging birdsong. A caravan of black Cadillacs rolls down Interstate 80, when someone decides this would be a good place to grab a presidential beverage.
Soon, among the pristine automobiles and tailored suits, Obama emerges. He ducks his head to step out of the vehicle and then, straightening his own jacket, leads his entourage in for a cup of coffee.
That’s where I am. Sitting at a coffee shop hammering out a column. Coffee in hand, the president walks over. “What’s on your mind,” he asks. And, that is when the mental dogs start barking, the chimpanzees start shrieking in the canopy.
“Last Sunday,” I begin, “I woke up feeling awful.”
“I’m sorry,” he says electably.
“Then,” I continue, “I heard my neighbors complain about feeling awful. And their neighbors, too. I logged on to see if the trend stretched outside the region, and sure enough, bloggers were already addressing this dirty dawn. Headaches, it seemed, stretched from border to border. Our eyes were barely open, undefined slits, as though the cores of our bodies were surprised at the break of sunshine. The nation, it seemed, became ill.”
“I know,” the president says, “I have to be going.”
“But let me finish. I have a cure.”
“End daylight savings time.”
That’s about when I imagine the president and his black-shoed army would skedaddle back down the highway and out of town, thus ending my one attempt to influence presidential politics.
But I digress. It turns out, I don’t need a presidential fantasy for that argument to gain strength. Just a few days after we sprung forward an hour, bloggers, columnists and child safety advocates have already started a campaign.
First, a little history: Our annual winding of the clock started in World War I as an alleged energy saver. After a number of repeals, it finally became a ritual in 1966.
Since then, it was in effect from April to October until Congress changed it in 2007 by making it run from March to November. Lobbyists for the late-night crowd, especially owners of bars and clubs, pushed the extension.
The result? Now we’re all blurry-eyed, and those energy savings never actually happened (we turn on our lights when it is dark, not because of what time it is).
Perhaps the best reason to end this campaign comes courtesy of Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, who argued it was unnatural and against nature to change our clocks. In his column this week, he quoted a reader who said her chickens hated the time change.
“They won’t lay their eggs in the dark, so we have to hook up a light in the chicken house. Then we can’t let them out for their morning run in the dark because the raccoons get them. You need to start a campaign to get this time change stopped,” she wrote.
So Al put his sleepy fist up, and the revolution began. And after reading about how scientists have proved our bodies power up and down according to the solar cycle and not our alarm clocks, I joined him. Not to mention, it seems like a hopeful agenda in this time of economic uncertainty to do something to simplify our lives. This, I promise: Not messing with your constituency’s sleep cycle will improve the attitude, cognition and behavior of our general populace.
So this morning, I ask everyone to join me in full protest. When the alarm clock lights up your life, shut it down. Close your eyes, count some sheep, and join me in sleeping in for another hour, an hour we won’t let our government steal.
Snore loud, snore proud. Then we’ll get some coffee.
Ryan Slabaugh wrote this column at 7 a.m. because he woke up before his alarm. Contact him at (530) 550-2650, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment online on his column.
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