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Local Column

Olson: Time change sneaks up on us again

It’s time once again to set our clocks back as we collectively continue to labor under the delusion that we somehow have control over time.

There’s no benefit to this system. Studies show it puts more stress on people. It’s totally arbitrary, as some states can choose not to observe daylight saving time at all.

Ideally, the entire country would give up the clock switch. Just change the clocks in March, don’t change them again. Failing that, Illinois should opt out.

I’ve said this before. You might even agree. Yet we persist at this because as with all nonsensical things that government does, inertia gets in the way of common sense. We change the clocks, complain, then forget about it until it’s time to change the clocks again.

Some people actually think changing the time is a good idea. I’ve been told that it actually would be too inconvenient to not change the time twice a year. People say if we stop changing the clocks, we’d be out of sync with our neighbors.

But some states, such as Florida and Indiana, are in two time zones, and somehow they manage.

Others have told me that without changing the clocks in the winter, it will be too dark when children get on the school bus in the morning. Sure, that’s why we’re doing this. For the children.

How do the children survive up north, where it’s dark even longer than it is here, I wonder? I’m pretty sure children in Alaska go to school, and it’s dark most of the winter up there.

Still, I must remind you that at 2 a.m. Sunday, it will become 1 a.m. Sunday. Unless you remember to go around and change the clock on your microwave and your stove, and spin the hands on your watch – if you even wear a watch, anymore – it will be wrong. The clock on your smartphone and other internet-connected devices probably will change automatically, and that’s all a lot of people even use any more.

The one clock that will not change is your body clock. If you follow a workday schedule, you probably will feel out of sorts for several days, a kind of government-induced jet lag.

I’m disappointed in myself, however – I have been interviewing candidates for political office for weeks, and I have neglected to ask them why they do not work to free us from this pointless time-tinkering.

So I guess we’d better change what clocks we can.

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841, ext. 2257, email eolson@shawmedia.com or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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