Forced to go to bed at my usual “bedtime” of 7 p.m., I caught a glimpse of daylight shining through the window by my bed. I jumped up and insisted I’d been duped.
“What’s goin’ on here, the sun’s still up, y’all’s watches must be wrong,” I said to my parents.
They made me crawl back into bed and tried to explain the concept of Daylight Saving Time. This didn’t just happen Saturday, it was about 40 years ago.
I cried myself to sleep, wondering why our government would be so cruel as to have everyone change their clocks so that kids would have to go to bed when the sun is still shining. My heart sank just like the sunset I watched that evening outside my window.
It was unfair for me to blame the government, however.
Although the Uniform Time Act of 1966 standardized the start and end dates for daylight saving time, no federal rule mandates that states or territories observe daylight saving time according to National Geographic.
While we in Mississippi and most other states all set our clocks ahead one hour Saturday night or this morning, people in Hawaii and Arizona did not. They stick to standard time year-round. People in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands don’t observe daylight saving time either.
People all over the world have tinkered with the concept of Daylight Saving Time for more than 100 years, with various excuses, like that it saves on the use of fuel, that it’s safer because fewer accidents happen, and that there is less crime during Daylight Saving Time. But, the most honest explanation for it appears to be that William Willett liked golf.
Willett, who aggressively lobbied for Great Britain to institute Daylight Saving Time in the early 1900s (they call it Summer Time over there), hated having to cut his afternoon golf games short and sunrise came too early in the morning for him.
In his pamphlet, “The Waste of Daylight,” published in 1907, Willett wrote: “Everyone appreciates the long light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter, and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the clear bright light of early mornings, during Spring and Summer months, is so seldom seen or used.”
Sadly, he died before anyone took his idea seriously enough to put it into action.
World War I and World War II can share credit for the popularity of Daylight Saving Time to help save fuel and extend production for the war effort.
Since the 1960s the U.S. has pushed Daylight Saving Time back and extended it so many times that now it is the standard rather than standard time, which we only operate under during January, February, November and December.
Maybe we should change the name of Daylight Saving Time to Daylight Standard Time, and during those other four months it would be Daylight Doesn’t Matter It’s Cold Outside Time.
Steve Gillespie is managing editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at