My colleague, The Quiet Man, sits in the back of our office buried in a mountain of work. Occasionally TQM comes up for air or to voice a complaint. One of the things TQM loathes is the hour change. He likes getting an hour back in fall, but despises losing that hour in spring. TQM and I are on the same page about this.
When I was a kid, my father was fond of bellowing about the hour change, “Why don’t they just leave it the hell alone?” My father had good reason to take the hour change personally. He was a factory rep for the Bulova Watch Company. We had 37 watches and clocks strategically placed throughout our house, and I knew that Dad had numerous live samples in his line.
Every Saturday on the weekend of the hour change, Dad would hole up in the garage with our dog, Mean Streak, and change the hour on all of the sample timepieces in his line. While performing this bi-annual ritual, Dad would curse in a low voice and Mean Streak would snarl softly in a display of canine solidarity, or maybe he just relished this opportunity to be fierce without reproach – as if any member of our family would dare cross our forever-angry mascot who only obeyed my father. When Dad finished resetting all of the timepieces in his line, he and Mean Streak would tour the entire house and do the same with all of our watches and clocks. I am sure at those moments my father regretted not being like his buddy, Al, who sold rings.
Since I only have two watches and two clocks, resetting my timepieces is hassle-lite. Resetting my biorhythms is an entire other issue. All day I have been feeling cranky, but at least in my current job, I do not have to work weekends. That was the absolute worse and this happened frequently when I worked a job in the Armpit Department in network news. Sometimes I would draw the short straw in the schedule and find myself assigned to the Sunday half of the weekend shift when the hour change took place. This memorably happened on Sunday, October 31, 1999, the day the hour fell back that year.
Early that morning, off the coast of Nantucket Island, EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed killing all 217 on board. When I worked in news, I would immediately turn on the TV upon rising so I was aware of this horrible event. My shift started at 8 am, but I knew it was going to be a heavy news day, so I figured it was imperative that I arrive at the network early. Therefore, I skipped my morning workout, and performed my ablutions at warp-speed. At 7:10 am, I was polishing off a bowl of cereal, when my phone rang. I answered and the caller was my supervisor, Stupido Dipshit, a stunningly incompetent woman I despised just a tad less than my department head, a shallow, egotistical, corporate brown-nose I will refer to here by the pseudonym, Waste O. Space. The following is a transcript I’ve committed to memory:
Stupido: What the hell are you doing home? There’s a big plane crash … someplace! [Note: Stupido never watched the news nor read a newspaper, so she had no clear idea about what happened anywhere.] Waste O. Space called the office looking for you! You’re supposed to be at work right now! Do you have any idea how late you’re gonna be? Your shift started at eight! What am I supposed to tell him? Give me a good answer!
Me: The time is 7:10. This weekend I turned my clock back. I suggest you and Waste do the same.
Stupido: Oh, shit! I had no idea the hour changed! Now I gotta tell Waste O. Space to reset his clocks!
I hung up the phone.