Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Ask Smidge – Daylight Savings Time

Many of us are about to once again engage in a twice-yearly tradition that can only be described as utterly insane. We are going to “fall back,” and move all our clocks back an hour on Saturday night. Or should I say, most of our clocks. A few states don’t do it at all, and for those of us that do, let’s be serious about that sprinkler timer in the garage. You have never changed that one.

Anyway, the inbox has been overflowing with time change-related questions, and as always, we have answers.




I heard the federal government was passing a law getting rid of the stupid clock changes. When does that happen?

Hopeful in Hartford


Dear Hopeful,

You may have heard that, but you were tragically misinformed. The “Sunshine Protection Act” was introduced in 2022, but has been stalled ever since. Seems no one could agree on whether to keep standard time or go to permanent daylight savings time. You see, government officials are, by nature, complete morons, as evidenced by the name of the bill. They no doubt believe that passing this law will actually affect how much sunlight is in one day. The weight of that responsibility is too much for their tiny brains and they are frozen in fear. It will never happen. You can hold your breath if you want, but while you’re at it, you should also officially abandon all hope.





I can never figure out how to change the clock in my car. What should I do?

Confused in Concord


Dear Confused,

Don’t sweat it. About half of the cars built before 2018 don’t even have the ability to set the clocks. You just get what you get. You can always disconnect your car battery and then reconnect it right at noon or midnight, but that’s a big hassle. Your best bet is to pretend your car is simply in a different time zone than you are. So, for half the year you would just know that even though you’re on eastern time, the interior of your car is on central time, and do the math in your head accordingly. As a bonus, you’ll always have a plausible excuse for why you were two hours late for work. “Sorry boss, converted the wrong direction this morning. My bad.”





How did Daylight Savings Time even happen? I heard Benjamin Franklin invented it. Is that true?

Amazed in Anaheim


Dear Amazed,

No, Benjamin Franklin did not invent Daylight Savings Time. He was actually intelligent. That story has been going around for years because he wrote about it, in jest, in an essay in 1784. He didn’t even suggest changing the clocks. He was writing a letter to the editor in a Paris newspaper, and he was joking that the French could save money on candles if they just got out of bed earlier. He was right. Also, humor wasn’t as funny in the 1700s.

No, we have a New Zealand bug scientist to thank for the idea of changing the clocks – he wanted “more daylight” to search for bugs (I’m not making that up), and like the French, couldn’t figure out the “just get your ass out of bed earlier” life hack. And, of course, we have the Nazis to thank for actually putting the clock changes into practice during World War One. Technically, they weren’t the Nazis yet, but same difference. Classic Nazi move.





How come some states do DST and other don’t?

Curious in Cleveland


Dear Curious,

I wish I knew! By law in the United States, it is up to the states to decide if they want to change their clocks or not. While many states are smart and don’t do it, and I’m usually a fan of extremely limited federal government powers, in this case I do not agree. It should be all or nothing. Here’s why: We already have time zones, which although obviously necessary, are still confusing. Just think about those poor people who live and work near the time zone line. If you lived right on the line, how would you ever know store hours, or what time practice starts. How would you ever plan anything?

“I’ll see you at three o’clock.”

“Which three o’clock?”

What if you lived in one time zone and worked in another? That’s my idea of what hell would be like. So, why have we allowed individual states to further complicate things by not changing their clocks when the rest of us have to? It’s absolute madness.





I use my phone as my alarm, but I always lose sleep on these crazy time change nights. I know my phone will adjust the time change automatically, but I always end up waking up ten times in the night to check my alarm. How does it know to adjust my alarm?

Tired in Tampa


Dear Tired,

Phones have tracking software now that recognize your normal everyday patterns and adjust their settings accordingly. That’s why the maps program always knows exactly where you want to go, and when you get there. It’s spooky, but also handy.




Well, there you have it, folks. All the answers to your vital DST questions. You’re welcome. (Please keep in mind, Ask Smidge always has answers to your burning questions, but we never said they were good ones.)

Don’t forget to “fall back” on Saturday. Unless, of course, you’re in your car or one of the good states.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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