Big Sis – Supreme Leader of Time

By Piper Bayard

I opened my eyes yesterday and thought, “Who came up with this crap?” The crap I’m referring to is Daylight Savings Time. As if we could save either daylight or time.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

What is time, anyway? This thing we measure that can’t be measured at all. It flies when we’re having fun and freezes us in eternity when we are suffering. Linear to some and spiral to others, is it nothing but a fiction we agree on, like money, to rule and order our lives? Or is it simply what we call that voice that whispers relentlessly, “Change or die.”

Regardless of its nature, in this existence, at this time, the clock is why I’m awake too damn early for my liking. So I’m wondering again, who is responsible for this?

I can’t blame my parents for this one, but I can blame the railroads. Yes. The railroads.

Image by Huw Williams, US public domain

When railroads were built in the early 1800s, localities set their own times. The country had no standard time zones, and that made for a mess. Railroads needed to publish reliable schedules to function properly.

The railroad industry was to the 1800s what the oil industry is to us now. It pretty much got what it wanted out of Congress, regardless of the effects on Americans. What the railroads got in 1883 was the right to establish official time zones with set standard times.

Thirty-five years later, in 1918, Congress signed the railroad time zone system into law. That law also established a federal Daylight Savings Time, but Congress changed that part in 1919 to leave it up to local rules.

Ah, the good old days. There was only one federal regulatory agency back then, and that was the Interstate Commerce Commission. Since it was the only game in town, it was given authority over time zones and Daylight Savings Time.

In 1966, Congress switched that authority to the newly created Department of Transportation. That same year, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which made standard start and end dates for Daylight Savings Time, but still left it up to the individual states to decide if they want to participate or not.

Janet Napolitano, Eternal Leader and Supreme Leader of Time, Dept. of Homeland Surveillance Security Photo

Since Congress can change the authority over Time at will, it got me wondering when our seemingly insatiable Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, will want a piece of the action. Big Sis, as she is unaffectionately, yet accurately, known to our nation, already has her agents groping us in airports and stopping us at random on our nation’s highways to search us without probable cause. What would she do if she were Supreme Leader of Time, itself?

I think Big Sis would first change Daylight Savings Time to Daylight Security Time, with the motto All Time is Our Time.

She would then use Dr. Who’s tardis to travel back in time to the founding of our nation and make it a dictatorship, rather than a republic. She would appoint herself Eternal Leader, in the fashion of her Homeland Security Hero, Kim Jong Il.

As our Eternal Leader and Supreme Leader of Time, she would take charge of how we Americans spend our time, spouting such quaint maxims as, “Idle hands are the Ayatollah’s workshop,” and, “Idle minds are Al-Qaeda’s playground.”

To make sure none of us has any time on our hands or any thoughts left over to create trouble for America, Big Sis wiould require Americans to fill out detailed paperwork in triplicate to account for all behaviors the Department of Homeland Security has listed as potential domestic terrorist activities. Those activities currently include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Buying gold
  • Owning guns
  • Using a watch
  • Using cash
  • Using binoculars
  • Donating to charity
  • Homeschooling
  • Joining the National Rifle Association
  • Discussing apocalypse, the anti-Christ, or the book of Revelations
  • Stockpiling food, ammo, medical supplies, and hand tools.

Suddenly, if all I have to do is wake up an hour early to comply with Daylight Savings Time, it’s not looking so bad.

How does Daylight Savings Time affect you? What do you think Big Sis would do if she were Supreme Leader of Time?

All the best to all of you for using your time, whatever it is, to your contentment.


29 comments on “Big Sis – Supreme Leader of Time

  1. Big Sis would give me back my hour. I still feel wonky today.

  2. Never mind, there’s no time like the present so grab it. Ignore Big Sis …

  3. Julie Glover says:

    I haven’t flown since the nudie x-ray machines and groin groping were introduced. I know we want to be secure, but I fondly remember standing behind a link fence with my toddler and waving to daddy as he got on a plane. I miss the good ol’ days when no one worried what was in my shoes.

    I think Big Sis wants to add to that list of no-no’s: Be a Texan. You know we’re all gun-totin’, English-manglin’, oil lovin’ crazies down here. 😉

    • Jane Sadek says:

      I remember the thrill of getting off the plane and falling into the arms of the devoted person who came to pick you up. They had watched anxiously as the plane taxied to the jetway, so they knew you were there. Now you have to wander through half the airport and find the right baggage claim to find your beloved greeter and they watch all the straggling travelers wondering, “Are they off my beloved’s flight.” It’s like all the downloading and uploading and editing and printing that stand between me and the pictures I take. Whatever happened to instant gratification?

      • Piper Bayard says:

        I like that comparison. I love it that, since my kids are under 18, I still get a security pass to meet them at their gate when they fly. Never thought it would be such a novelty, and one that won’t last much longer. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience, Jane. 🙂

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Lol. I’ll bet you’re right.

      I remember taking my toddlers to the airport just to ride the concourse train around in circles. They loved it, and it was an easy day for me. Good to see you, Julie. 🙂

      • Julie Glover says:

        Well, I live close to Ellington Airport, where you really could stand on the tarmac and wave goodbye years ago. Now it’s pretty much military planes and where the Air Force One lands when it’s in town. I bet they don’t have to do pat downs!

        • Julia Indigo says:

          I remember my mom and dad taking me to the old Austin Interregional Airport in the early 60s, where you could go out on the observation deck (I think the gates were underneath it – it projected out toward the runways) and watch the planes land and take off.

          Now you’re too far away to do that. 😦

          • Piper Bayard says:

            It’s a shame, too. Such a fun thing to do. At least there is still a local airport nearby where I could drive the kids out there and park near the little runway. I did that when they were little so they would be entertained by the planes while I took a nap.

            Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories, Julia. 🙂

    • J Holmes says:

      “I think Big Sis wants to add to that list of no-no’s: Be a Texan”. You Texans have some crazy ideas. Some of you dangerous people down there act as though the constitution is some sort of legal document that the nation is supposed to follow.

      Only a dangerous radical could think such a thing.

  4. I hate almost all federal regulation, and I hate time changes, but I LOOOOOVE DST. Why don’t we just keep DST year-round and quit changing all the time? That would eliminate most people’s objections to DST.

    I’ve always thought it was strange that we use it in the summer, when we have daylight reasonably late in the evening anyhow, but we don’t use it in the winter when it’s really needed. Who wants to come home in darkness at 5:30 in the afternoon? And farther north maybe at 4:00 or 4:30? That’s insane to me.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      I live in a place that is dark at 4:30 in December. It’s actually very cozy, and it’s good to have the light a bit sooner in the mornings at that time of year. But I love hearing your perspective, and I know that Texas has a bit more sunshine no matter what we label the hour. So glad this is good for some folks. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Dave. 🙂

    • J Holmes says:

      I agree David. High noon is noon and that’s that.

  5. tomwisk says:

    Big Sis takes all those extra hours and uses them to mess up the Red States so her boss could have a job for another four years. They all do it. It comes with the job. I personally like the change from EST to DST. In winter I get a warm feeling when it gets dark around 5PM. It takes me back to when I was a mere tad walking home from the Thomas Jefferson Library.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Lol. Yes, she would, for sure. And as you say, they all do it. And I’m with you. I like that warm feeling that comes with an early sunset. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas and experience, Tom. 🙂

  6. EllieAnn says:

    My kids slept in an extra hour today. I’d feel all happy inside if not for the knowledge that in six month’s time they’ll be waking up an hour EARLIER.

  7. KM Huber says:

    This business of clocks and hours and minutes–or time–is a big enough subject without changing what is meaningless twice a year. Both falling back and springing make me dizzy. This year, I decided to change my timepieces on Friday, not much of a protest but it was my protest and by Sunday morning, I’d forgotten, another virtue of age.

    Great post, Piper!


    • Piper Bayard says:

      Lol. I like that idea, Karen. And I like how you put that. “…changing what is meaningless twice a year.” Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  8. I didn’t know about Big Sis until today. However I can tell you one of the first things she would do is require all Americans to report to a time station on a regular basis. This would enable her to keep track of the whereabouts of everyone within her field of influence. Those who did not stop in for their check ins would be beaten within an inch of their life and taken to a check in location. Government healthcare would not be liable to take care of those who missed check ins and were beaten by the government.

    And for all those who thought that women wouldn’t bring war, just remember this. They won’t bring war, but they’ll take care of the problems at home in a manner that will eliminate the problems of the future. Or at least this woman will.

  9. J Holmes says:

    Hi Jayrod. President Kirchner of Argentina (aka Evita 2.0) is working hard to disprove the “women won’t bring war” theory as we speak. I hope she fails. I had very low hopes for Janet Napolitano and yet she has managed to disappoint me.

  10. edrevets says:

    And people think Obama is the one with all the power. Even he is a slave to the whims of big sis.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Actually, Big Sis is part of the Executive Branch, and Obama is the leader of that branch of government. He appointed her, and he can remove her at any time if he chooses to do so. If he did not approve of everything she is doing, she would not be able to do it. The buck ultimately stops with the presidency.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It’s nice to meet you. 🙂

  11. Andrew says:

    I saw a blog post a few days a go where a guy (who took pains to specify that he wasn’t an astrophysicist or otherwise qualified in the sciences) set out the idea that time is an illusion – that there is no past, present, or future but instead there is one moment, and the illusion of time’s passage is caused by movement.

    I thought it was interesting…although I have to say I’m qualified in a science (sort of)…just not that particular branch. More of an aficionado, I guess :P.

    Oh and I’m all screwed up on account of the time change, and the fact that it came at the end of spring break. It’s amazing how fast you get used to sleeping in until 10am, and it’s also amazing how lousy you feel when, according to your body’s clock up until the night before if not the clock on your desk, you’re forced to get up at 7am every day >_<.

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi Andrew. I am convinced of a past/present/future model. I accept that the rate of time passage can be impacted by gravity and by speed of movement. I’m comfortable with the relativistic model even though it is obviously incomplete. I have been to lazy to look at more recent models.

      • Andrew says:

        Yeah so far as I know the data we have now is in support of the relativistic model. It’s a bit outside of my purview though so it’s hard for me to comment much more than that, haha.

        Ask me about cells, genetics, evolution, etc and I’m on firmer ground, but if we’re getting onto Einstein’s turf that’s when I start getting lost…but then I’m in good company on that score because everyone else does too lol

  12. […] read Piper Bayard’s blog on Daylight Savings and found out I can blame the railroads for needing standard […]

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