It aint' Laid Back...

Some days I really hate John Denver.  Today is one of those days.  I hate it when he so glibly sings about life on the farm being “laid back”.  I wonder what farm he was visiting.  He certainly couldn’t have lived and worked on one.  Not a real one anyway. 

I come from a long, pretty much unbroken line of farmers stretching all the way back before the American Revolution.  There’s a teacher here and there, a couple of soldiers, and a preacher or two, but mostly farmers.  Certainly my extended family in the Cherokee Strip were farmers, although my Father’s siblings, and cousins were beginning to head to town to find other things to do.  I suppose they’d had all the “laid back” life they could handle. 

This morning, for example, was a far cry from that laid back fantasy of Denver’s.  My day started before coffee with the digging of a grave.  That’s not an easy task when the land you live on produces primarily rocks.  But with the help of my son we managed to dig deep enough to lay our good friend to rest. 

He was the Sergeant Major’s friend really.  Her very best one.  He was her constant companion both on the farm, and when we’d go camping.  You couldn’t ask for a better friend.  Big.  Friendly.  Loved people.  Loved being with his “Mom”.  And now he was gone.  We don’t really know why he died, but Great Dane’s are prone to a variety of problems I’m told.  We always expected to outlive him, but we never expected that he would be gone today.  I hurt for the Sergeant Major.  It’s difficult watching her heart break. 

It’s not the first time of course.  And I’m well aware that it won’t be the last.  Sometimes the causes are plain and easy to understand.  A mountain lion, which the game warden claimed didn’t exist, killed a llama, two sheep, and almost got a miniature horse.  The horse was a young foal and thanks to some good luck we reached her in time.  I cradled her in my lap and hung on for my own dear life while the Sergeant Major raced the truck back to the barn where we had medical supplies. We saved her, and I took pictures to show the warden the claw marks on her neck.  It would be years before they’d finally admit the cats were there. 

The tough ones are when you don’t know what is happening.  A young foal was normal one day, then died in my arms the next.  I helped the Vet do the autopsy.  Her blood wasn’t liquid; it was crystals—blood crystals clogging her vessels.  He didn’t understand it either and sent samples to the State University.  If they figured it out they never told us.

I’ve honestly forgotten how many good friends are no longer with us.  Some, like the Sergeant Major’s buddies, Zeus and Harley, left us all too soon and all too mysteriously.  Some, like Sheba Dog, and Sheba Horse, lived to a ripe old age.  It still hurt, of course, but there was comfort in knowing that the Circle of Life was complete. 

Don’t misunderstand.  I’m not whining.  Yes, I’m sad, and just a tad bit angry.  But I chose this life and am much the better for it.  It keeps me mindful that forces bigger than me are in control.  But there is work to it.  It requires a certain resilience.  There is life and death, and joy and pain. 

“Laid back” it isn’t.  If we’re going to let singers tell us how life goes, then I’m going with Adele on this one, “Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”.  Sometimes our dear friends last with us for a long time, but sometimes they’re gone without warning—and the hurt is what lasts instead.   

So goodbye Zeus, and Harley, and DiNozzo, and Jethro.  Goodbye Sheba Dog, and Sheba Horse, and Ragtime, and Sister.  Tell Maggie and Tigger and Limkey and Annie we all said “Hi”. 

For now, we’ll continue on much as our people have always done.  We’ll feed the chickens, and the rabbits.  We’ll grain and water the horses.  We’ll put hay in the barn, spray the weeds, and try to keep up with the thousand and one things that have to get done before supper.

And I’ll think about what Mr. Denver sang.  “Laid back”, my ass.


A Classical Education...

Last time I wrote about the difference between what we learned in school “back in the day”, and what seems to be happening in our country today.  I’ve thought some more about it, and have come to the conclusion that when I referred to being educated “back in the Dark Ages before modern history began”, I wasn’t kidding.  I was blessed to have gone to school in a system that could be called “classical”.  Yes.  I think I had a fairly “classical education”.  I was taught with the same methods that Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and John and Abigail Adams would have recognized. 

It’s called “the trivium” and it has three parts:  Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, with each stage, except grammar, being dependent upon those before it.

Grammar begins with “the facts”.  It doesn’t call for opinion, interpretation, or speculation.  “Just the facts, ma’am”, as Joe Friday says in “Dragnet”.  It calls for the student to memorize and repeat bits of information. 

“Two plus two equals four”, says the student.  “Two plus three equals five.  Two plus four equals six.”  At no point does the teacher ask how “Two” feels about being plussed with so many other numbers, nor does she ask the student to speculate as to what “Two” might be feeling about being associated with different integers.  It can’t be easy being “plussed” that much, and “Two” may very well feel embarrassed about it, but the grammar stage is not the time to discuss it.     “Two plus five equals seven” and that’s all there is to it. 

Grammar schools, or as we called them, “elementary” schools, are where this initial learning takes place.  It is a time to gather basic information, absorbing it without evaluation.  It is elementary, to deal with the simplest elements of something.  It is to “begin at the beginning”, which we know from the esteemed philosopher, Maria von Trapp, is “a very good place to start.  A B C, Do Re Mi”.    

Logic comes next.  This is the point where critical thinking begins.  Is it right or wrong?  Is it cause or effect?  What does it mean?  This is where we begin to form our own opinions based on a critical evaluation of the evidence.  The scientific method becomes a useful tool in determining fact from theory.  Question and answer becomes the focus as we begin to draw useful information from raw data. 

Hint:  This can also be a dangerous time as the student begins to question.  “I wonder what would happen if I put an Alka-Seltzer in the aquarium?” can have fatal consequences for the creatures who occupy that aquarium.  (In case you’re wondering, no, it wasn’t me, nor do I know who it was.  All I know is that it happened in the Biology class right before mine.)

Finally, we arrive at rhetoric.  I get to have an opinion and try to persuade you that I am correct. You get to do likewise.  Essays and essay questions become important.  As we develop in this stage we realize that our persuasive efforts are most often, but not always confined to the spoken or written word.  Art and music can also be vehicles for persuasive arguments.  Acceptance and rejection become paramount.  Opinion is internalized to the point that how the student thinks about the subject now causes him or her to alter behavior.  We become the product of our own analysis. 

That is the order of how we were taught.  Elementary school (Grammar), Junior High (Logic), then High School (Rhetoric).  Life, and learning about life, was a progression.  First a foundation was laid.  Then the framework was put up.  Finally, the interior was designed to suit the individual tenant. 

But Classical education is more than just these three pieces.  It also embodies a belief that all knowledge is interrelated.  Chemistry, for example, isn’t just studying chemical reactions, it needs some knowledge of the history of scientific thought to make complete sense.  After all, we learned a lot about what materials react with other materials because certain alchemists were looking for ways to turn lead into gold.  And before that, guys were figuring out that mixing copper and tin made a nice bronze, or that iron with lots of carbon made darn good steel.  And that study leads the student into history.  History is the core around which classicism revolves.   Military history, political history, economic history, and in Western civilization, religious history—the story of the Christian church and the impact of its thought on Chemistry, and Astronomy, and Biology, and Physics, and so on and so on.  All knowledge is related in a classical education, so any serious education system has to include history, science, art, music, and literature. 

Ours had all of that beginning in elementary school where all five of these subjects were required, and continued to be required as we advanced. “Electives” didn’t exist until the last year of Junior High, and weren’t predominant until High School. 

I fear that our deviation from this model—learn the facts, analyze the facts, express your opinion about the facts—is what has led us to today.  We ask first graders how they feel about learning before we teach them how to learn.  We throw logic out into the cold, because “the narrative” is far more hot.  We voice our opinion regardless of whether or not we know anything about the subject.  And we think history started the day we were born, and ends the day we die.



Conformists, Toads, and Snowflakes

I don’t want to stray too far into politics, so for the sake of this post let’s just agree that we’re talking about “Sociology”.  That’s a perfectly respectable topic, even if it’s not a perfectly respectable “Science”.  (I’ll make a note here that my son disagrees.)

What has my attention today started with simple nostalgia.  You know how it works—that longing for an easier, simpler, and sweeter time.  It wasn’t always all of those things of course, but there were moments we can’t forget.

At any rate, once upon a time, way back in the Dark Ages before modern history began, I was a young high school student who enjoyed reading and writing.  So I joined the high school “Creative Writing” club along with a variety of other people.  We’ll call them “creatives” to be nice.

We wrote, and then met to read to each other.  We experimented with thoughts, words, sentences, paragraphs, prose and poems.  We let our imaginations run wild.  I don’t know that we ever deliberately tried to hurt one another, but we (some of us anyway) were certainly guilty of “insensitivity” had there been such a crime in those days.  That there wasn’t is testimony to our resoluteness.  We recognized something that our Fathers called “the way of the world”. 

There is a picture of me with the other members of the club in the yearbook.  I’m wearing a “hoodie” and a somber look on my face as if there were no doubt I’d be the next Jack Kerouac, or Richard Brautigan.  Meanwhile, the teacher who sponsored the club was praying that I would just master “Dick and Jane”.

We called ourselves “Toads”, which we took from a quote by Stephen Crane:

“Think as I think," said a man, "or you are abominably wicked; you are a toad." And after I thought of it, I said, "I will, then, be a toad.”

We were happy being “Toads”.  We liked being “Toads”.  Back then, if you really wanted to insult a person you called them a “Conformist”.  No one wanted to be a “Conformist”. 

I was thinking of this as I watched a news report on students at a university rioting because they didn’t want a speaker who didn’t think like them to be allowed to speak on campus.  What? How does that work?  It’s not possible to be in public with people you only agree with.  And why would you want to be?  The image of all these “Conformists” running for the shelter of their “safe spaces” is a difficult one for me to grasp.  Our “safe space” was where we thought, wrote, argued, and disagreed. And we called each other “Toad”.  And we did it with respect and appreciation.

We had another quaint tradition too.  It was called “debate”.  A moderator would hand you a slip of paper with a resolution on it, telling you which position you would take.  The moderator would then hand another person a slip of paper with the same resolution, but the opposite position on it.  Each of you would then prepare and defend your position.  It mattered not whether you actually agreed with it.  Your job was to determine the best argument for your position.  You were then “judged” on how well you defended your side of the debate.  There was even a “winner”, and a “loser”, a once time honored tradition now limited to sporting events.

Of course, today we don’t “judge”, or “discriminate”, or “discern” either, but that’s probably another post. 

It was considered a good thing to be able to understand the other person’s argument without agreeing with it, or demanding that they quit speaking it.

“Hey man, can you see where I’m coming from?” we’d say.

“Yeah man, I get where you’re coming from.  I’m just not there”, we’d reply.

And it was GOOD!  It was OK!  A best-selling book at that time was titled I’m OK - You’re OK.  Now we’ve arrived at I’m OK - You’re Not So Hot.  Or worse.  That’s not revolution, it’s devolution.  (Sociology remember.  We’re talking about Sociology). 

This seemed normal to us.  I’m sure that’s why when I went on to college I can fondly recall—that nostalgia again—attending speeches by people as diverse as Angela Davis and William F. Buckley, without actually freaking out.  Buckley was, in fact, my commencement speaker.  I shudder to think what that might do to some people today. 

 So what in Heaven’s name is going on here?  Can we get back to that sort of intellectual honesty?  How do we go about doing that?  I don’t know.  I’m just waiting, and hoping that some young and innovative Sociologists can help.  

Control, Influence, and Concern

They say that feeling in Control is key to mental health.  In fact, some mental health professionals will tell you that the whole concept of mental health is a measurement of the degree of control people believe they have in their environment.  Don’t confuse this with the word “controlling”.  We all know people who try to control everything and everyone around them.  That is not what I am talking about.  There are two things you cannot control—other people, and nature.  Never forget that.  You can only exercise control over your own thoughts, and behavior. 

So how the heck do we do that?  There have been a number of “self-help gurus” who have written about this, but I came across the concept originally back when I was in the Army. * 

“Captain”, they said, “Do you see that big oak tree off to your right?  And do you see where the bridge crosses the creek over to your left?  That is your Area of Control.” 

Within that area of control it was my responsibility to determine the enemy avenues of approach, place my soldiers, machine guns, and mortars, coordinate artillery fires, and generally plan how I would fight the battle if it came my way.  made the decisions.  had both the responsibility, and the authority to do whatever I needed to do in that area.

To my left and right were other Captains who were doing the same thing in their areas of control.   I could not go over and tell them what to do.  It was their responsibility, and they had the authority.  However, if the battle came at them, I could, if necessary, readjust my forces, and assist them in fighting their battle.  This was called my Area of Influence, because I could influence the battle there. 

Beyond that, the rest of the battlefield was my Area of Concern.  What happened out there concerned me, but I could neither control nor influence what happened there.  Obviously I was concerned that these other soldiers did their jobs properly because if the enemy broke through their positions my unit might be cut off and surrounded.  Still I had no authority to go check on them, nor could I tell them what I thought they should do.  My only recourse was to focus on what I could control, and train my soldiers how to breakout from an encirclement just in case the worst happened out there in the area of concern.

The same principles apply to everyday life.  War.  It seems it’s always there.  It was in Iraq yesterday, and Syria today.  It hasn’t gone away in Afghanistan, and now it’s here at home—Ferguson, Dallas, Boston, San Bernardino, Berkeley, Washington DC. The stock market is climbing, or dropping.  Family members get sick or hurt.  Jobs are being moved offshore.  Hurricanes.  Tornadoes.  Wildfires. Floods.  Epidemics.  No matter how much we want to, we cannot control any of these.    Sure, we need to be aware of what’s out there of concern, but only so that we can plan our control issues better. 

As humans, we respond to danger by attacking (fight) or running away (flight).  Either way, our bodies produce adrenaline so that we have the strength to fight ferociously, or to run like hell.  When we get out there in our area of concern, and we see these dangers, our bodies begin to produce the adrenaline required.  The trouble is that in most instances we can’t fight—how do you punch out the Consumer Price Index?  And we have no place to run—we’re stuck behind the desk, or the wheel of our car.  So what happens to the adrenaline that is flowing through our bodies, but has no outlet?  It eats us.  Literally.  As a chemical agent it can destroy tissue.  It can eat through the mucous membrane that lines our stomachs and cause ulcers.  It can cause anxiety, and hyper-irritability.  Not good.

The solution is to focus on what we can control, or what we can influence.  I can’t control the economy, but I can control my checking and savings accounts.  I cannot prevent a tornado, but I can stock my basement with flashlights, batteries, water, and food.  I can’t keep management from shutting down the plant, but I can bring my best value everyday so hopefully they never need to.  The more you do these kinds of things, the better you will feel. 

When you can’t control it, try to influence it.  No matter how much you’d like to, you cannot control your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, your boss, or your co-workers.  But you can influence them.  You can talk to them.  You can work at convincing them that your way is a better way.  Sometimes they will listen.  Sometimes they won’t.  But if you prepare your arguments carefully, and present them properly, and let them know you care about them, you’ll influence them positively more often than not.  The area of influence is interesting, because as you expand it, you are expanding your area of control too.  See, the thoughts you have, and the actions you take in order to influence someone are things that only you control. 

Don’t stay hanging out in your area of concern.  There is nothing you can do there except make yourself sick!

Come back to yourself and ask:  “What if?”  What if my husband’s company moves the operation to Mexico, or India, or China?  What actions can I take now to prepare for that eventuality?  How likely is it to happen anyway—90% certain, or only 10% chance?  Act accordingly.  You cannot eliminate risk.  We are fragile creatures in a hostile universe.  But you can control your response to it.  You don’t have to be eaten alive with fear and anxiety.  You can think.  You can act.  You can adapt.  You can develop alternatives.  You can survive.  You can even thrive. 

As Viktor Frankl pointed out in his book Man’s Search for Meaning,

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 

That change is a choice.  It can only come from the inside.  We may not be in control of the situation, but we are in control of our choices. 



*Stephen Covey talked about these same topics in his writings, but I was first taught the concept at the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA.

Little White Packages

The pigs have gone off to the Processor for “processing”.  When I was a kid it was off to the slaughterhouse to be “butchered”.  The end result is the same.  Whether “processed” or “butchered”, bacon, ham, chops, and sausage will soon be piled high on the table for our dining enjoyment.  Wat, Spot, and Not were in good spirits when they left, and that’s important when it comes to taste.   

The Sergeant Major told me I shouldn’t name them, but I couldn’t help it.  I could distinguish between the three quite easily, but without names I would have had no way to tell her about them.   

“One of the pigs doesn’t seem to be eating as well as the others,” I said.   

“Which one?” she asked. 

“You know, that one that I know is different from the other two, but since I can’t name him, I don’t know how to tell you who it is” 

“Just describe the one you’re talking about!” she saidrather exasperated. 

“Well…it’s a pig, and it’s not eating as well as the other pigs.” 

“Describe it, dammit!” 

“OK!  It’s not the red one with the wattles, it’s one of the other two.  It’s black and white.” 

“Which black and white!” 

You get the drift.  I know which black and white pig it is because I know how to distinguish between the two.  They are both black with a white stripe which circles their bodies just behind their shoulders.  On the back, inside the white stripe, one pig has a black spot, and the other pig does not.  Spot, and Not.  The red one I call Wat, because of the wattles.  Wat, Spot, and Not.  It’s quite easy really, but it has now become clear that I’m going to have to confess that I’ve named the pigs even though I had been “cautioned” not to.  

Sidebar: 
I use the term “cautioned” much like the Battalion Sergeant Major would use it when I was a Company Commander. 
“Well, Captain, I understand.  However, I would just caution you that if you proceed with your proposed course of action, you are likely to endure some serious unintended consequences.” 
If you are a young Captain, and if you have been paying attention to the world around you, you know that the next words out of your mouth must be, “Well Sergeant Major, what do you suggest?” 
This is true because 1) There is a high likelihood that your plan has a major flaw in it that the Sergeant Major has recognized, but does not want to insult you by bluntly pointing it out, or 2) You have a brilliant plan that the Sergeant Major, for his own reasons, does not like, and if you proceed with it, he will do whatever it takes to ensure that there are “serious unintended consequences” which will not be traceable back to him. 
End Sidebar 

“OK, it’s Not.  Spot’s eating fine, and Wat’s eating normal for him.”   

Silence.   

Then, shrugging her shoulders in resignation, she said, “You named the pigs.  Do you not understand that these animals will be on our table someday?  Do you not understand that Not, or whatever the heck you call him, is going to become our bacon?" 

“Of course I understand that," I said excitedly.  “But not just bacon.  He’ll be ham and sausage too.  At first I called them ‘Breakfast, ‘Lunch’, and ‘Dinner’, but that takes way too long to say.  And anyway, you still wouldn’t know which was which because any of them could match any one of those names.  I’m just trying to draw a distinction. 

She looked at me silently.   

"I'll go look", she said.   

She turned sharply towards the barn, muttering something under her breath. 

"What did you say", I said.   

"Nothing".   

"No.  You said something.  What was it?" I insisted.   

She turned back.  "Little white packages.  I said 'All I see is little white packages'.  Dozens and dozens of little white packages".  

So, as I said, they left in good spirits the other morning.  The Sergeant Major is right as usual.  They will return as little white packages.  Little white packages full of nutrition and joy.   What can be better than that? 

Micro Stories

Katy Bourne is the sister of my friends.  She wrote a book called Weirdo Simpatico: Little Stories for Short Attention Spans.  Amazon is where I got my copy, and I’ve really enjoyed it.  She talks about how she started by writing little stories about words which others would give to her. 

I was telling a friend about this, and mentioned that I had a mind to try it.  Did he have any words?

“Yep”, he said.  “Burp, fart, and sneeze”.

“I can’t write about that”, I said. 

“Then you can’t write”, he replied.  “Those are the words”.

So, my pride and ego on the line, all I could say was, “Challenge accepted”. 

You can decide whether I get it or not.  Oh, I did add a couple of extra words of my own.    

Burp—

It took the room by surprise.  Completely.  Thoroughly.  The sound roaring like a flash flood raging through a dry creek bed after a torrential rainstorm.  Where once only the soft clinking of glassware, and the tinkling music of silver had mixed with the murmur of intimate, close conversation, now came a force of nature, shattering everything in its path—the intensity of the moment so unexpected, so quick.  The diners froze in horror as if they had just sat down to dinner in Pompeii.

Fart—

She wasn’t sure she was that happy about it.  Yes, for a moment it had seemed wondrous.  The pain was gone in an instant.  She felt light.  She felt free.  She wanted to leap for joy.  But now, the consequences had begun to set in.  Her eyes burned, and her nose urged her to flee.  “Run!” it cried.  “Run now!”

Sneeze—

It built slowly like soft, white cumulus clouds on a hot summer’s day.  At first there was only the tickling of a faint breeze, so faint, in fact, that she could not be sure it was really there at all.  But just as the clouds grow higher and higher, so did the pressure.  The air turned angry, and the clouds darkened.  For a moment, the world held its breath.  Then, the flash of lightning, the rumble of thunder, and the rain falling down until it rested lightly on her soufflĂ©.  

 Salad—

"Weeds again?”, he said.
"They're not weeds, it's salad. It's good for you. Now stop it and let's enjoy our meal".
The Waiter returned and stood quietly, pad and pencil in hand. 
The lady gave her order, including the House salad.  With Vinaigrette.  
"On the side please", she said. 
"And you Sir", said the Waiter. 
He hesitated. She looked daggers at him. 
"The salad", she hissed. 
"I'll have the salad" he said, looking at the Waiter. 
"Yes Sir.  House or Caesar?"
"Macaroni", he replied. 

Survival—

“Run”, she cried.
 “Run now!”
 So I ran.  Then ran some more, staying tight to her speckled white hip and swinging black tail. 
“Why are we running”, I cried out. 
“It’s what we do”, she called back. “Just stay with me”. 
Across the green grass, splashing through the cold water, and stumbling, flailing against the black mud which sucked my feet deep into the earth.  Eyes blurry from wind and effort.  Lungs on fire.  The only sound in my ears, the roar of the blood racing through my veins. 
“There!”, she cried.  “Over there, the gap in the thicket.  Do you see it”?  She pushed her nose into my shoulder to guide me to where she was looking. 
Where?  Where?  My mind was on fire and I could not focus.  What gap?
Then suddenly I saw it.  A dark space.  A shadow on the wall of trees ahead.  I pointed my nose towards it, pushed hard with my hindquarters and I was through.  Ahead of me, the old Appaloosa mare was slowing.  I caught up to her and slowed with her.  
“But why are we running?   I still don’t understand”, I gasped.  The mare slowed to a walk and swung her head towards me.  “It’s what we do.  When we don’t understand, we run.  We run first and figure the rest out later. Don’t ever forget it.  It’s how we stay alive”.   

Of Daylight, Time, and Madness

“I don’t care what they call it, it’s still 7 o'clock!”, said I, quite irritated.

“Spoken like a true curmudgeon”, replied the Sergeant Major.

“Well, it’s true.  They think they can just change time, but they can’t.  It’s still 1pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  All they’ve done is to make me go to work from 7:30am to 4pm, instead of 8:30am to 5pm.  The Earth is still rotating at the same rate.  It didn’t speed up at 2am Sunday morning!”

By now I was highly agitated, and that, along with some coffee, was the primary reason I was even awake.  Yes, I know that farmers are supposed to “get up with the sun”, or some such nonsense, so I guess I’ll just have to be the exception to the rule. 

But while we’re on that subject, my animals find this change annoying as well.  They measure time by the sun, as they should.  Now, because their farmer has gone off his rocker, they will be eating their meals an hour earlier.  That will go on for some months until it suddenly changes back and they find themselves eating at the proper time, or an hour later, or something.  No wonder they remain somewhat skeptical of humans.  We can be quite inconsistent with even the very basics. 

The only ones who win are the chickens because they have food and water available 24/7, and the rooster still crows at sunrise.  Nothing arbitrary and capricious about that.  Sure, the couple that comes by to see them every day will wander by an hour earlier than usual, but so what? 

For the horses, pigs, alpacas and donkeys, tough luck.  People screw with me; I screw with you.  Stuff flows downhill, as they say. 

But why?  Why do we bring this pain on ourselves?  According to my research it can be described in one word:  Evil.  The guys who came up with this abomination were 1) Early risers, and 2) Busybodies.  They were up.  The sun was up.  Why was everyone else still asleep?

“You’re wasting daylight”, they cried. 

“So what”, said the Farmers.  “The dew makes it too wet to cut hay until later.  We’re going back to bed, thank you very much”. 

And so they did, and slept just fine until World War I, when the busy bodies returned in force. 

“There’s a war on you know”, they cried. 

“The cows don’t care”, the Farmers shouted.

And for reasons still not fully understood except that people tend to lose their minds in war time, Daylight Savings Time became a reality.  For a while. It was repealed after the war, and it stayed gone until, you guessed it, the next World War.  This time the rallying cry was to “Save Energy” although it’s never been clear that it actually saves very much energy.  At any rate, after the war, it went away again, but like any other really bad idea, it just wouldn’t stay gone.

So how do you keep selling this bad idea?  “For the children”, of course.  Thousands of school children would be mowed down by speeding motorists while they stood in the road waiting for the bus.  Or some such thing.  But Americans being Americans if it “saves even one child’s life” we have to do it. 

And so we do.  Funny thing is though, the people who actually made this happen were the grill and charcoal makers, amusement park owners, fast food companies, and the makers of sporting goods—People who all benefited if Joe the Plumber got off work at 4pm instead of 5pm.  He and his buds now had an extra hour to grill out, drink beer, or go fishing while their wives could run down to the store or take the kids to the amusement park while it was still daylight.

This is why I get to spend two weeks in the Spring and another two weeks in the Fall, feeling like death warmed over while my body reluctantly adjusts its Circadian rhythms to please a bunch of early rising busybodies, in cahoots with businessmen and politicians. 

Quit telling me that “Time changes”.  No.  Nature’s time is Nature’s time and my animals and I know it.  You might have the power to make me go to work an hour earlier, and get off work an hour earlier, but you didn’t change time.  All you did was change my schedule.  

Ask the people in Greenwich.  Time didn’t change a bit, GMT is still GMT.  I agree with the unknown person who made this observation: “Only the government could believe that if you cut a foot off the top of a blanket, and sew it to the bottom of the blanket, you will get a longer blanket.”