• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Time for a change

As this story reminds us, there are now less than two weeks left before we have to take part in daylight-saving time, and I can feel you panicking out there. After all, we've never had to do this before. No disrespect intended to the folks at WISH-TV, but their account does not include ALL you need to know about DST. So, as a public service, here is my Imbecile's Guide (don't want to infringe on anybody's trademark) to changing your watch or clock.

Clock_1 I have provided a graphic to guide you through these instructions. For something this complicated, you have to know exactly what you are dealing with. If you feel yourself struggling, don't be embarrassed if you have to take a moment or two to study the picture some more.

1. Note the 12 numbers. These represent "hours," a unit of time equal to 60 minutes.  You probably know there are 24 hours in a "day," so you might be wondering why there are only 12 numbers. Believe it or not, each number does double duty, given that our day is divided into 12 "a.m." hours, during which people are usually at work and the TV shows are boring, and 12 "p.m." hours, during which people catch up on all their chores and teenagers are out doing unspeakable things. This is done because, as a culture, we believe in second chances -- you have probably heard the expression, "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

2. You will observe that there are two "hands," the long, skinny things that point at the numbers. The big hand DOES NOT represent the hour -- that one points to the "minutes." The "short"  hand points to the number that is the current hour; I know this is counter-intuitive, but, trust me, that's the way it is. Your goal will be to "spring forward" an hour by moving that short hand one number higher -- e.g., to the 8 if it is on 7, to the 3 if it is on 2, to the 10 if it is on 9, to . . . well, you get the idea. Interestingly enough, however, the big hand will move in tandem with the little hand -- at the same time -- but will end up back where it started. If the little hand is on the 9, for example, and the big hand is on the 5, which those of us who follow such things call "5 after 9" or "9-oh-5," except for the showoffs who say it's "55 till 10," moving the little hand to 10 will cause the big hand to move, too, but it will land back on 5 all over again. Because the big hand is more visible, in fact, it is recommended that you "spring forward" by watching it as it goes all the way around to the same number again. Look at the little hand -- it will have gone up a number. Don't ask me how they do all this at the same time-- it is magic.

3. You accomplish this with the "stem ," a protuberance that is found on different places on various watches and clocks. Using the stem is a two-step process. First, the stem must be pulled out. This is an EXTREMELY DELICATE operation, so you might want to have a cup of coffee or a vodka martini, whatever it takes to steady your nerves. Some stems come out in two stages -- one stop represents the time, the other the day. If you pull it out to the wrong place, you will spring forward a whole 24 hours instead of just one, and then you'll have to start all over again. Once you're at the proper stage, you're ready for the second step: Turn the stem, slowly and carefully, clockwise -- that is, to the right -- until you have made the little hand rest on one number higher than it was.

4. Push the stem back in -- all the way in! -- and put the watch back on your wrist or return the clock to wherever it was resting. You will now be in sync with everybody else in your time zone, instead of always getting to things an hour late when all the good seats are gone and the second pot of coffee in the break room is already turning to sludge.

5. This will make you good to go for months and months, until the time when you must "fall back," for which you will basically have to do the same thing all over again, only backward. I don't want to confuse you, so I will save those instructions for later; the difference between "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" (or "to the right" and "to the left") alone is enough to drive you crazy.

6. Certainly you will have noticed that there are three hands on your watch or clock. The third one is the "second" hand. Pay it no mind. Unless you have a 100-yard-dash club at work or are an obsessive-compulsive who must check your pules rate constantly, it is of no consequence. On second thought, you might want to check your pusle rate just before and just after you have accomplished your spring-ahead mission, just in case it has been so traumatic that you might need medical care.

7. Even if you get through this ordeal successfully, you will undoubtedly experience several weeks of disorientation. You will look outside and think it is darker than it should be or lighter than it should be given the "time" of "day." That is God's work, and nothing you need pay attention to.

I know a few of you out there are screaming at me right now that this is all analog. What about some help for the people who must "spring forward" with their digital time-keepers? Sorry, that's just too gosh-darned modern for me. What do you think I am, a bleeping genius?

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Wed, 03/22/2006 - 5:55am

Where's the justice? Carol Tannehill, who can write, is outta there, and Uncle Leo's still ... well, doing what he does. Sheesh.

Yeah, Leo, you're the only smart Hoosier. Sorry you have to put up with us imbeciles.

Larry Morris
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 6:46am

Gee, ... if you don't like the way he writes, why did you read the whole thing ? At least this ex-hoosier is smart enough to read what he likes and just stay away from what he doesn't, ...apperently unlike some imbeciles.

Leo Morris
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 7:15am

Apparently, I need to start work on "An Imbecile's Guide to a Sense of Humor."

Wed, 03/22/2006 - 7:18am

I thought it was fun! But this "a.m." and "p.m." stuff confuses me. I've done my homework and determined that "a.m." stands for "ante meridian" and p.m. stands for "post meridian." Brushing off my Latin, I've figured out that these are just fancy ways of saying "before the sun is straight up" and "after the sun is straight up." But checking the time tables, I see that in June it's going to be noon more than two hours before the sun is straight up. What gives?

Leo Morris
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 9:13am

Doug: As I explained about clocks and watches, it is counterintuitive but true that the little hand, pointing to the hour, is more important than the big hand, which marks mere minutes. The "sun straight up" stuff that confuses you is, of course, the work of God -- or the Big Hand, as some of us like to call him. What we're doing down here with time and saving time and such, is the work of the Little Hand, which wins out. This ain't poker.

Bob G.
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 10:20am

I noticed that nowhere in all the above postings was PROGRAMMING ONE'S VCR or DIGITAL clock addressed....!?!

Oh, and while we're at it....let's have a refresher course on the full "24" hr cycle (i.e. 1830 hrs). Then there's always *ZULU* time (and that doesn't refer to putting a Stanley Baker movie in the player that is STILL blinking "12:00:00" all these years)!

Gotta love "progress" *
*(1 step forward & 2 steps back)


Larry Morris
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 12:03pm

Sometimes, I wish all I had to worry about was changing the clocks back and forth for daylight savings time. In what I do, time is very important and sometimes just too darn obscure, ... next time you have a moment, look up "leap seconds" on the web. Makes the big hand and the little hand look really attractive, ...

Bob G.
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 12:14pm

Gee...I was JUST going to ask about the ATOMIC CLOCK too.....who exactly sets THAT forward and back???

On the DOOMSDAY clock...are we STILL 5 minutes before midnight (and holding) and does THAT get *adjusted* for DST???


Bob G.

Larry Morris
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 12:19pm

Bob, if I remember correctly, I think the DOOMSDAY clock uses "nuclear winter" savings time, ...

Bob G.
Wed, 03/22/2006 - 12:37pm

For GOD'S sake...whatever you do...DON'T tell Gov. Mitch THAT.....we're not even close to getting the hang of DST...That's ALL we need now...!!!


Bob G.