Time Rebellion

March 2023 Feature Ted A. Thompson

In my seldom-humble opinion, Daylight Savings Time is an unnatural burden on our lives. I never know what the real time is anymore. Is it actually the time we think it is, or are we on pretend-time now? I wonder if anyone actually knows.

When the Time Masters say "frog," we're expected to spring forward, no questions asked. The last time they toyed with time, I didn’t reset the digital clock by my bed. I'd be proud to say this began as a matter of principle…that as a heroic Freedom Fighter and Lover of Truth, I defiantly declared Chrono-War on the Despots of Daylight Savings.

But the fact is, I just put off resetting the clock. It is old, the buttons are hard to push, and I am lazy. I didn’t actually “declare war.” I simply fell into it.

With my bedside clock registering an hour slow, time continued to pass as it always does, unconcerned with human poppycock. In mid-summer, I suddenly realized I had a three-month head start on a potentially winnable war against the Time Tyrants. I could beat them at their own game. Passionately inspired to do nothing at all, I never reset the clock, and my time siege began in earnest.

Everything worthwhile requires personal effort. For months, I performed mental arithmetic at least twice a day. When I went to bed, I had to realize it was 11 pm, not 10. When I awoke, I carried out my sleepy calculations, "It's not 4:30, it's 5:30." Defiant, I did the math with minimal whining, even before coffee.

If I couldn’t outwit them, I could at least outwait them. Not having "sprung forward,” I would not have to "fall back." When I prevailed, my clock would be correct again. Pure genius, as far as battle strategy goes. Pure nonsense, as far as my wife Roxanne was concerned. Some women just don’t understand war.

My tactics presumed uninterrupted electric power during the long months of the siege, and sure enough, the power never failed – proof positive that God is on the side of the righteous. For months I awaited that triumphant day when my clock would be correct again, and I would snatch victory from the very jaws of foolishness.

At midnight on a Saturday in early November, Time conceded. I had won! Sunday morning when my clock said 6 o'clock—it was actually 6 o'clock! (…I think.)

With a grin I awakened Roxanne to announce that I’d beaten the Daylight Savings Time System. My bedside clock was once again displaying the correct time, “And I didn’t have to push a single button!” I bragged.

"Good for you," she sniffed, “but it’s Sunday. I’m on my own time.  Go ‘way.” She rolled over and went back to sleep.

“Fine,” I muttered, “act like you don't care. Still, I won. I did.”

I gloated victoriously, strutting past that clock several times during the day, content with the correctness of its setting and the rightness of the world. I might even have phrased a reference to myself as an intrepid “Time Travailer” had I sensed any hope of redemption for such hideously punful coinage.

Now jump ahead.

It’s Monday morning, a single day after the time change and my historic conquest.  Although it is still dark outside, morning rituals are in full swing.  Roxanne at her vanity, a four-light bar blazes over her makeup mirror, bright as the sun. Curling iron preheats. Hair dryer hums.

In the kitchen, every light is on. The microwave warms a bowl of oatmeal. The microwave…!?

Microwave oven, hair dryer, curling iron? Before the glorious sun rises, horrible awareness dawns. NO! That’s too much wattage for the circuitry in this old house! 

I step quickly toward the oven to turn it off, but before I reach it, a series of sharp clicks emits from the circuit panel in the hall closet.  Click, click, clickclickclick bzzzzzzzzz, and then a final, resounding CLAAA-AKKK! as the breaker switch throws itself off, in furious rejection of the overload. The house goes dark and quiet.

I am engulfed in silence, darkness and despair. From the bedroom, hair dryer in hand, Roxanne asks, "What happened?"

I choke in reply, "Threw a breaker.” I make my way to the closet, reach to the circuit panel, feel for the breaker, throw it to the “on” position. Light and sound return to the household. I rush to the bedroom, and there, fully experience ironic reversal of fortune, and the dreadful reality of war.

In the Great Thompson Time Rebellion, I have been sucker-punched. Outflanked by fickle fate. Nuked by my own microwave oven. Shell-shocked, I stare in horror as my bedside clock flashes its blood red signal of unconditional surrender:

12:00  12:00  12:00  12:00  12:00  12:00

Until next time, my best from the stern.

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