A Longer Blanket

November 13, 2009

I hate this time. Hate it with a purple passion.
   What’s the dang deal? Yeah, fine, I know the story about having daylight in the morning for the kids to go to school. But most parents tell me they’re pulling their hair out because their kids are in the house by 5:30 p.m. and driving them nuts.
   Same for me. I get home, and I got an hour of daylight. Hate that. After being cooped up in this building all day, I just run in the house, change out of these monkey clothes and retreat to the great outdoors to listen and try to figure out what my sycamore trees are saying in the breeze.
   Or I grab a rod and take the dog to a pasture with a pond on it, so he can run and swim and I can fish. Or I cut some grass. Or…well, you get the idea.
   No more. The sun is low on the horizon by the time I get home, and I barely get a corona stogie burned before it’s dark.
   I feel ripped off. Violated. Somebody reached out and stole my daylight from me, and I want it back.
   Ben Franklin, our city’s namesake, came up with the notion in a satirical piece in the late 1700s, and the U.S. jumped on the bandwagon with other countries in 1918. It was repealed a couple years later for being hugely unpopular, and wasn’t re-enacted until 1942. Some states ignore it completely today. I wanna move there.
   By 6 p.m. at the latest, I’m in the house, driving Suzie nuts with my whining, looking for something on television that doesn’t involve desperation from housewives or super models or would-be survivalists. I start getting sleepy by 6:30 because I’m tuned to the sun, I guess, and it’s all I can do to stay awake until 10.
   Granted, right before the time change I was having a hard time finding Daisy’s food bowl in the back yard, and once or twice poured her kibbles into her water bowl. But a flashlight would solve that problem until the solstice, when things start to reverse themselves and we start gaining precious time again.
   I have to be grateful to George W. Bush who signed legislation at least delaying the “fall back” and hurrying up the “spring forward” and that’s hard to do, much as I disliked GWB.
   It’s this old planet’s fault, of course. It’s the tilt and curvature of the earth in its orbit that makes this nonsense happen. I think Al Gore should abandon his global warming crusade and begin a grassroots movement to straighten out the earth’s axis, orbit and even up its curvature. Now there’s a book he could write: “An Inconvenient Inclination” or something. I’d buy it.
   This is, after all, a product of government, and like Social Security, Medicare, $200 toilet seats, deregulation of the savings and loans, and the IRS, it’s a colossal mess. Government should leave our clocks alone, don’t they have better things to do?
   Old Indian say, “Only the government could believe you can cut a foot off the top of a blanket, then sew it to the bottom of the blanket, and you end up with a longer blanket.”
   As usual, the Old Indian was far more wise than the government bureaucrats who called him a savage and sent a drunk on horseback out to get rid of him. The battle at Little Big Horn started late in the day on June 25, when there was plenty of daylight. That’s because Custer had to sleep in and then get rid of his hangover, so he couldn’t get around to it earlier. By November, he’d just been getting up when the sun was setting.
   Us, we didn’t bother with such nonsense. For one thing, we didn’t have clocks, so we got up when the sun rose and went in or to bed when it set, if we weren’t dancing around a roaring fire to impress the young indigenous maidens. In Indian Time, the time to do something is when it’s time and if it ain’t, don’t do it. By the time Custer got to the battlefield, the Indians were probably about to leave, figuring the crazy white man had decided to take the day off and go fishing.
   In fact, there’s excellent fly fishing for trout on the Little Bighorn River and some place horrifyingly named Custer Creek and nearby Custer National Forest. All this would never have happened if it got dark at 5:30 p.m., because the General would by then have been in a saloon somewhere gambling and showing off his Russian roulette skills.
   So what we have here is a failed attempt at a longer blanket. Brought to you by the same bureaucratic type that walked up to Old Indian on the Rez one day:
   “What do you want, paleface?” Old Indian asks.
   “I’m here to help you,” he says.
   “Why?” Old Indian wants to know.
   “I’m with the government,” he says.
   “Make up your mind,” Old Indian replies.