Ben Franklin and the Exploitation of Sunlight

Last night, I reluctantly moved my clock forward one hour and as I gently pushed the hands around, I swear I heard mothers everywhere scream, “WHO CAME UP WITH THIS BRIGHT IDEA?” I did a little research recently and found out it was Ben Franklin who originally came up the concept of utilizing daylight to its fullest. Old Ben is the one who coined the phrase, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Maybe that was the case for old Ben, but personally, I think I’m a lot smarter when I can sleep in a little because the sun isn’t blazing through my window at 5:30 a.m.  Once Ben died, the world thought the controversy was over until London Builder William Willett actually lobbied to introduce a bill to the House of Commons that would force people to turn their clocks forward in spring and back in the fall.


William Willett must have never pro-created because if he had, he would have realized that daylight savings time is a major disruption to the lives of innocent parents who have just one wish every morning – to get their children out of their beds and to school on time. Tomorrow morning will be a nightmare in houses across the country due to Daylight Savings Time and the weeks it takes children to make up that one lost hour. 


This is the scene in my house every normal school morning. I walk into my kids’ rooms and begin a 10-minute battle that starts with me kissing my 13-year-old’s face while tenderly whispering, “Time to get up, sweetie. Rise and shine!”  I go into the kitchen, start the coffee, and five minutes later, I walk back into his room where he is sleeping soundly with the covers up under his chin.  This time, I am not as kind as I say loudly, “Get up!  You have exactly 15 minutes to get dressed, pack your homework, eat breakfast, make your lunch, and brush your teeth!”  He mumbles something unintelligible from under the sheets that I think I’m glad I can’t hear as I leave the room.  After another five minutes passes and I haven’t seen my son yet, I stand in the doorway of his room and bellow, “IF I DON’T SEE A BODY ROLLING OUT OF THAT BED BY THE TIME I COUNT TO THREE, YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER DATE OR DRIVE A CAR AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE!”


Suddenly, I hear my 10-year-old yell from her room, “WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE BE QUIET?  I AM TRYING TO SLEEP!”


I slam open her door and just as I open my mouth to shout, “YOU WILL NEVER WEAR MAKE UP IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF BED THIS INSTANT!” she says, “I know, Mom … I’m getting up! Who could sleep with all this yelling anyway?”


Now some brilliant mind has decided to make my life even more difficult on a school morning, not just for the months of April and May, but yes, the innovative thinker has now decided that we need to start daylight savings time earlier – in March.


With all this said, I haven’t even mentioned how daylight savings affects me. Today, I slept in until 7:00 a.m., but I didn’t eat breakfast until 10:00 a.m. because it was really 9:00 a.m. when I normally eat my breakfast, then I couldn’t go to the gym until 11:00 a.m. because I usually go at 10:00 a.m., but then it was too soon to go after I ate, so I had to wait until my food settled. Then by the time I got back from the gym, it was 1:00 p.m. and I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to eat lunch or dinner, so I ate both. Tonight, I imagine I’ll have to force myself to go to sleep early because my body clock will say it’s really 8:00 p.m., but the wall clock will say 9:00 p.m.  Is anyone else as confused as I am right now?


Even though I was really exhausted from trying to figure out my new bedtime, I still went out to my car to adjust my clock an hour ahead.  I pulled out the manual and turned to the chapter labeled “Daylight Savings Time.”  I knew it was a bad sign when they devoted an entire chapter in the manual to changing the clock, but I continued to flip pages until I reached the section labeled, “This is Going to Take A While.”  The instructions read, “Push the menu button three times then bang your head on the steering wheel four times while pressing the seek button on your CD player until you reach the appropriate hour.  Then, press the CD AUX button six times while simultaneously holding down the FM button until you reach PM (or AM if it is morning).”  Things went downhill quickly after I accidentally banged my head on the steering wheel three times while pushing the CD AUX button.  The good news is that if I ever need to know what time it is in England, I can check it on the clock in my car.


Controversy always has a bright side. After all, all those husbands who have been home every single long winter night, lying on our couches while scratching and snoring, stay on the golf course a little longer this time of the year which allows us full control over the remote. Take that to the House of Commons, William Willett and Ben Franklin!




About Vicky DeCoster

Award-winning humor writer Vicky DeCoster is the author of "From Diapers to Dorkville," "Husbands, Hot Flashes, and All That Hullabaloo!" and "The Wacky World of Womanhood." She has been published in over 60 magazines, books, and on several web sites. Vicky lives in Nebraska with her husband and two children where she loves to laugh every day. Visit her at
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2 Responses to Ben Franklin and the Exploitation of Sunlight

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