Laughing all the way — It’s About Time

December 4, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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We have four clocks in our home if you don’t count the digital readouts on nearly a dozen  pieces of electrical equipment. That means that every power flicker lasting longer than a nanosecond requires us to re-set everything, a task of which we never tire. And if you believe that, I also have a friend from Nigeria who is a princess and could use your help. We also have a voice messaging system that refuses to believe it’s not 2008, the year that we bought it. No matter how many times we change the date, it still insists on informing us in an unruffled and certain voice that it’s 2008. To mitigate the tedium of the futile reprogramming process, I pretend that I’m a rap disk jockey and make the voice stutter as it rolls through the years to 2015, which it will later reject when I’m not paying attention.


So getting our home to accept the changes of Daylight Savings Time can take us the better part of a day, saves us nothing, and requires a scramble to find the manuals that came with the electronics that don’t change automatically.

On November 1st, The Sainted One and I had breakfast, read the Sunday paper, and reminded each other that we needed to set the clocks back. Then we went our separate ways to grocery shop or work in the garage and yard, each secretly hoping that the other would take on the Herculean task of digital switchover. But every time I went near a clock that was battery-operated, I set it back an hour, figuring that I’d done my part since The patient  Sainted One is far better suited to reading instruction manuals written by people for whom English is a second language than I am.

Whenever I came in the house and glanced at the family room clock, it seemed to be mid-morning. After a while I began to believe that the 10 a.m. hour would never pass, but chalked it up to time-change fatigue. The Sainted One, meanwhile, was feeling a bit peckish and thought it must be close to lunch, a football game, and a beer. When he checked the same clock, he questioned both his dietary needs and his beer-drinking habits. Perplexed after yet another check of the clock, I finally turned on my cellphone where the digital display informed me that there was either a rip in the space/time continuum, or the timekeeper responsible for flipping the DST switch on millions of mobile phones had erred, or we had royally screwed up the simple act of Falling Back. I wanted deeply to believe in the first two possibilities, but after dialogue lifted from a bad sitcom – So what time is it really?, I changed that one, Well I changed that one, too! – The Sainted One said, eyes wide, “Wow. We almost made it to yesterday.”

Since the phone is perpetually in 2008, I’m beginning to believe that it’s possible.


You can reach Pat Detmer – who’s still not really sure of what time it is – through

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