So it’s that time of year again… well, the new and improved earlier time of the year (since the government “improved” it a couple of years ago). Of course, I speak of Daylight Savings Time, where we adjust our clocks an hour and pretend they are correct and the sundial is not. Not than
anyone many actually still use the sundial.
I don’t really mind the illusion of Daylight Savings Time. I like the extra perceived hour of daylight in the summer. It’s nice to have until 8:30 or 9:00 to enjoy the outdoors. What I don’t like it trying to remember which way to set my clocks in the spring and then later in the fall. Do I gain sleep now or lose it?
And stop right there… I know you’re thinking of the old “Spring ____, Fall _____” cliche — where the words “back” and “forward” each go into one of those blanks. But that trick doesn’t truly work as a memory aid when BOTH combinations make complete sense. A memory aid should help you to remember, right? Not create a bunch of additional work. So every season, I still have to go through the mental hurdles to make sure I pay attention to when I’m supposed to get up the next morning.
So you can end up with two choices and they both make sense: “Spring forward, Fall back” or “Spring back, Fall forward”.
- Spring Forward — to pounce on something… “A leopard moves through the grass and then springs forward onto its prey.”
- Fall Back — to retreat… “The squad leader decided to fall back to a more advantageous position.”
- Spring Back — to recoil… “I lightly pressed the cake to see if it would spring back” or “The elephant saw the mouse causing it to spring back.”
- Fall Forward — to trip or stumble… “As I was jogging my foot caught a root and I begin to fall forward.”
Absolutely none of these are silly, so each combination works and thus neither is ruled out or in based on the “just remember this simple phrase” strategy. You end up having to think of some way to remember which combination allows you to then remember which way to adjust your clock.
Since the “correct” one is “Spring Forward, Fall Back”, you could remember that the right one is where “Fall gets the direction that does not start with its own starting letter (F)”.
Man, what a pain.
I usually just end up doing the math in my head… “OK, so when it’s really 6:00 pm and sunny, but we want to pretend that it’s sunny at 7:00 pm, so we change our clock from 2:00 am to 3:00 am… FORWARD!”. Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Also a pain, but it’s only twice a year, right?
The other option for modern adherents is to just let your cellphones and computers update themselves automatically (which most will) and then the next day go around and set your manual clocks to whatever those devices say.
It would also be nice if they’d move the shift from between Saturday-Sunday to Friday-Saturday. More people can sleep in on Saturday than on Sunday anyway (or should be able to) and the effects of missing the time change might be less severe for people. But that’s another issue.
Regardless this Sunday at 2:00 am we set our clocks FORWARD one hour (which means we lose one hour of sleep).
And also change the batteries in your smoke detectors.