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Humor June 2018

Oops, I Accidentally ‘Sprang Back’

By Michael J. Murphy

The twice-a-year ritual also leads to a surprising revelation as to how the time differs on each clock that we have. The difference in time can be so extreme that it’s possible my clocks in the kitchen are on standard time while those in the basement show the current time in Reykjavik, Iceland.

“Spring forward” and “Fall back.” Sounds so simple. But did anyone consider that it is also quite easy to get them all mixed up? To my way of thinking, the expressions “Spring back” and “Fall forward” sound more natural and make more sense. Sooo, I accidentally set the clocks back AGAIN last time around.

First of all, isn’t a person much more likely to fall forward? Say you’re walking down the sidewalk staring at your phone and you trip over a tricycle that some kid didn’t put back where it belongs after playing. Now which direction do you think you are most likely to fall? My point exactly.

And under what circumstances exactly is a person my age likely to spring forward? Frankly, I haven’t been springing up, down, forward or back very much nowadays. But if I had to, I would most likely spring back.

Like I did last summer while hiking through some tall grass when, suddenly, I came face-to-face with a clearly agitated snake ready to strike. Why, you would have to be an idiot to spring forward under those conditions. So, yeah, I sprang back — then ran like the devil.

Knowing other folks around my age, it’s quite reasonable for me to imagine that a few of them also get mixed up when it comes time to change the clocks. Heck, some people my age have even been known to change the clocks a day early.

It’s easy to see why. You get so many warnings and reminders over the two weeks leading up to the actual clock-changing day that it can get confusing and cause folks to jump the gun. You start to wonder, “Did that guy on the news say to change the time at 2 o’clock Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, last night, yesterday, or what?”

If you’re anything like me, when it’s time to move forward or back each spring and fall you are shocked to discover how many clocks you have. It seems like I always overlook a timepiece or two, stumbling across a forgotten clock weeks or even months later, thinking “Well, looky here, I plumb forgot this clock out in the garage that’s covered up with the towel I use to dry off the dog.”

The twice-a-year ritual also leads to a surprising revelation as to how the time differs on each clock that we have. The difference in time can be so extreme that it’s possible my clocks in the kitchen are on standard time while those in the basement show the current time in Reykjavik, Iceland.

I have to confess that I never get around to changing the clock in my car. Mainly because I never seem to think of doing it until I’m sitting in the car and strapped into my seatbelt. Then, of course, in trying to reach the glovebox for a tool I nearly strangle myself.

Once I scrounge up something to use, like a ballpoint pen, there’s the problem that, with my eyesight, I can barely see the tiny holes on the dashboard that I need to jab the pin into to change the time. On top of that, there’s no way I can read the hole labels to distinguish “Minute” from “Hour.”

I’m not even sure that those particular holes have anything at all to do with the clock. Maybe poking one with the pen will result in all the car doors locking and I won’t be able to get out.

So I end up angrily tossing the pen, leaving the clock unchanged, figuring that’ll put me ahead of everyone else when the next time change rolls around.

Now that I have accepted the fact that I screwed up and accidentally sprang back, I’m actually a bit paranoid to even try and fix the situation. What if I change all the clocks only to discover that I’ve done it wrong again! Recent experiences indicate that this is quite possible.

After all, I’ve lost track of how many times I have fed the dog twice the same evening. And it doesn’t do any good to ask the dog if she’s already been fed since she shakes her head “no” no matter what I ask her.

One advantage to my error is that I’ll miss all of my doctor and dentist appointments over the next few months.

Okay, I better stop now because, according to my watch, I only have a few minutes until the deadline for this article — and I sure wouldn’t want it to be late.

 

Mike Murphy retired after a 35-year teaching and coaching career. He has a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is an Associated Press award-winning columnist.

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