Monday, November 5, 2007

Fall Back…. Laughing!

This weekend marks the end of another installment of America’s longest running practical joke.

The joke is so wildly successful, we’ve even given it a name. We call it “Daylight Savings Time”.

Not by accident, the joke has begun each spring… shortly after “April Fools Day”. What classic timing! Every comedian will tell you that timing is one of the key elements of successfully delivering any joke. I’ve always felt that the timing of the “Daylight Savings Time” April Fools gag is sheer genius. (It would be far too obvious if the annual escapade began each year ON April 1st. Hold it a week or two… just to catch all of us off guard. Brilliant comedic timing.)

It’s a hoot every year to observe the mischief caused by this prank. For days after the stunt, folks are showing up late for work, late for school, missing their bus, and rushing about trying to adjust. Some clocks go for months showing the displaying the wrong time. And then, when somebody takes the time to reset them, invariably a few of them get cranked in the wrong direction. Two hours off!!! What a great hoax!

Starting this year, we’ve added some new wrinkles to the classic gag. Now, we’re actually starting Daylight Savings Time three weeks early – before April Fools Day – and ending one week later each year. This year, the prank ends the first weekend in November – which happens to be this weekend!

But, next year, the end of DST moves a week later, and then even a week later the following year. Now, they’ve made the practical joke confusing to everyone. Sooner or later, we’ll all fall for it.

Here is my favorite part of the whole joke: It has been passed into law by 50 state legislatures and by Congress – not even realizing it’s a great big giant April Fools Joke. They think it’s a real law!!! They probably even list it among their major end-of-the-year legislative achievements!

April Fools!!!

Next week, after we all Fall Back at 2am/3am on Sunday morning, witless victims will be showing up early for their breakfast, their work, their classes, and even their dentist appointments for days to come.

And, of course, farmers across the land will also be spending the entire weekend -- and possibly the first few days of next week -- adjusting the schedules of their cows and chickens.

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