Lee Pitts: Clock Work
August 12, 2015
One of my favorite papers is the Livestock Weekly out of West Texas and in a recent issue there was an ad urging readers to support a bill to end daylight savings time in Texas. Some of the reasons they gave for putting an end to the idiotic tradition included: kids wouldn't have to walk to the bus in darkness, there'd be less insomnia and sleep deprivation, and it would help teachers improve test scores in early morning classes, etc.
I am in full support of any movement to end all this nonsense of springing forward and falling back. I've been on a lifelong crusade to end daylight savings time and explained my reasons in a column 30 years ago. Back then I told of an Indian who, when daylight savings time was explained to him, replied, "Cutting one end off a blanket and sewing it on the other end doesn't make the blanket any shorter or any longer. It just makes it uglier."
So I applaud Texans and wish them luck as they try to join Arizona as our most intelligent and less sleep-deprived states. I only wish we could get it killed everywhere. Even the name is idiotic. Who are we kidding? No daylight is being "saved" and it's completely at odds with the natural world. Mother Nature doesn't wear a Seiko, Bulova or Rolex and changing the time on a watch or clock doesn't make the day any longer… it just makes it feel like it.
I feel like a fool resetting all the clocks in our house every six months. It's a huge waste of time, especially in my case. The problem is I collect clocks, but not just any clocks. I collect carnival clocks, so called because they were given away sparingly to the winners of the rigged games of chance on carnival midways in the 1930s and '40s. My collection is specialized in that I only collect the clocks that have a horsey or cowboy theme.
I know you've seen the clocks of which I speak. Usually there will be a clock inside a horseshoe and a gold colored horse wearing a parade saddle with at least one tapedero broken off. (I see this so often I think they were manufactured this way). But I also have carnival clocks incorporating a bucking horse, a Roy Rogers look-alike, and a horse and buggy. I even have one with a cowboy twirling a rope that actually twirls and another of a conestoga wagon where the wagon master has a whip that works. Sort of. He whips but the horses don't budge.
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You can see what I'm talking about on eBay and even buy one for about $50, including shipping. Some carnival clocks also have a light on them but I am a purist and don't collect those, besides, they are usually priced out of my range. ($75 or more!) I've collected these clocks for decades and year in and year out they have been the best performing asset in my investment portfolio.
As an amateur horologist, I attempt to fix the clock mechanisms which always seem to be broken. This can be as easy as heating the clock with a hair dryer to melt all the collected crud away, rewiring the clock, or switching out the clock for a battery operated one creating a GMC (genetically modified clock).
Some snooty collectors of fine timepieces call these cowboy clocks "Schlock Clocks" but I like to think they are of a "timeless" design. My only complaint is that if I am forced to replace the original clock with a battery operated one it means I have to take off the back of the clock to change the time. Do that about 30 times and you too would come to hate the much dreaded daylight savings time and the mandatory changing of the clocks. I'm always behind on my clockwork and by the time I finish setting them it's time to change them all again.
A wise person once said that a man with two clocks never knows what time it is. What chance do I have of knowing the correct hour of the day with thirty clocks all showing a different time?
Now you know why I support any "movement" that would end daylight savings time.