Rendered Fat Content


Ben Shahn:
Untitled [Cherry Street, New York City] (1933-1935)

"To not do so seems inhuman."

I am told that I have sometimes accepted change as if I were a mature adult. Not often, mind you, or necessarily memorably, but I apparently have some track record. Still, nobody's surprised when I react to some change by kicking and screaming; obviously, I'm not always able to help myself. The progress of humankind seems especially ragged sometimes, so it's little surprise that my maturity fades in and out accordingly. I, for instance, have always considered Daylight Savings Time to be humankind's finest invention, mainly because it had no moving parts yet carried a profound positive influence. It required compliance, nothing more, to work its magic, and it managed to achieve that compliance without resorting to marshaling tactics. People obeyed without more than minor grumbling. Everyone benefitted!

So it's understandable when backsliding brings out the worst in me.
What other innovation do we decide to do without for almost half of every year? Do we choose to forego the use of electricity just as cooler weather settles in or the use of automobiles at the start of every rainy season? It seems ridiculous to pretend that Daylight Savings Time wasn't working after we've enjoyed evenings since last Spring. Now, we choose to close up shop mid-afternoon in favor of hibernating? What sort of self-denying zombies have we become? What logic and what reason guide this sorry decision?

I know, I know, when Daylight Savings Time was first proposed, conservatives birthed actual cows. How dare those in charge fiddle with God's own daylight? But there was a war, and people seemed more accepting of the apparent sacrifice, except the expected deprivation part of the supposed innovation never came. Those closely bound to clock time found they could sleep in an hour later. Those presupposed to puttering outside into the evening found themselves with unaccustomed lighting. The most extraordinary win/win proposition ever conspired in by humans worked! Unlike how the most conservative predicted, there were no spontaneous raptures and no punishing earthquakes or floods. For once, and perhaps for the only time in human history, a human innovation generated no negative externalities. This alone proved to be an abiding miracle! All Praise!

Then comes the day when we choose to return our favorite toy. We're contrite, as though we'd been sinning through the Spring, Summer, and up to mid-Fall. We had not been sinning, and our engineered contrition at moving backward again falls upon deaf gods’ ears, for ours was never a god of darkness but of light. In the beginning, just following the creation of the word, it's said that God created light not to be squandered but to be employed primarily to encourage an abiding joy. What sorry boys and girls conspire to take up DarknessSavingsTime instead of the newer and vastly improved manufactured kind? Let the Puritans among us worship in scratchy woolens. Let those who worship the past try to find succor there, but please let the rest of us revel in our genius, in our mind's most wondrous innovation. To not do so seems inhuman.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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