By Jim Scott
Suffering through new year’s prognostications is as irritating as those “fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk” stories that news editors can’t resist when it gets hot in the summer. Every year, valuable air time is exhausted on evening news broadcasts for Talking Head A to say ‘such’, and Talking Head B to say ‘so’. Even well-informed experts can only offer guesses as to where our economy, weather or political circus is going to land next. Within a day, some unforeseen ‘bozo eruption’ can end a career, or send a trade dispute spiralling into a full-blown recession.
I think it’s safe to predict that of all the predictions some will come true and some not. Or some combination of the two.
As poet Robbie Burns said: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley.” From gas and mining companies that thought they had spoken with everyone concerned, to senior bureaucrats who assumed a computer payroll could not go wrong, someone’s year is going to end up less hopeful than where it started. The safest bets are only a matter of better odds than worse, but there are no guarantees.
Mind you, outside of calendar publishers, why should we attach undue importance to the cycle of hours that end on December 31st and pick up again January 1st? Did something peculiar happen the night of December 31st 2018, (or 2017, 2016 etc.), that suddenly gave everyone a re-set? If you were bad or good in 2018, were you better or worse after the ball dropped in Times Square? As Aristotle explained, good people are those who do good deeds consistently, not just once. Every day requires that we consciously pursue the noble goal of being generous, magnanimous, helpful and even-tempered.
When we were in school, the cycle of the year included the anxiety and misery of September and the joy of June’s release. As an adult, the weekly cycle appoints Monday to be the day for glum resignation and Friday for downing tools and heading home for a break. We break our days into cycles of activity with a lull around noon for lunch and then renewed efforts to clear up files before heading home. Seems like an odd way to run a $2 trillion economy.
Of course, independent of our designations and our enemy the clock telling us what time it supposedly is, Earth has its own cycle of swinging slightly closer and slightly farther from the Sun as its axis points one hemisphere and then the other toward that vital heat source. Without our help, a year does go by as does each individual day, and we notice our daylight hours change in duration. We all know that a hundred years ago, concerned authorities came up with the notion that they could alter the face of the clock to say it was 6:00 a.m. one morning, but precisely 24 hours later it would not be 6:00 a.m. but 5:00 a.m. Voila! Daylight has been saved! Now farmworkers can use the “extra” hour of daylight to keep producing for the war effort. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, the clock had come to master every person’s day, and now the government sought to master the clock!
On a recent episode of the comedy “Veep”, idiot congressmen Jonah Ryan and his “Jeffersons” congressional caucus, shut down the US government by voting against raising the debt ceiling. One of Jonah’s favorite whipping posts is Daylight Savings Time but his colleagues are bought off before he can use his imaginary leverage to get rid of the old relic.
As we all know, much more serious issues are used to bring the US government to halt, but if any of the real-life buffoons over there are listening, I would encourage them to resolve their security issues quickly, and while they’re at it, join my friends in Saskatchewan and get rid of that damn DST!