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Saving for the future

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Too many people worry about recouping what’s lost

By John Pawlak

Halloween brought little witches and goblins and ghouls to our doors, scaring us with frightening blood stained scars, loose skin hanging from half eaten faces, and now and then even a knife impaling someone’s head.  
One child proved to be the most frightening of all by wearing a Mitt Romney mask. I threw a bowlful of candy bars at him and pleaded, “Leave my dog alone!”
Trick or Treat! Gimme gimme gimme candy!!! Ah, the sweet sound of young greed.
Yes, another Halloween come and gone, another visit to the dentist to drill out cavities from ingesting all that sugar and chocolate (well, you’re lucky if there was actually any real chocolate in that stuff.)
And another weekend for everyone to remember to change their clocks.
As I stared at the clock, an old mnemonic came back to me - “Fall back, spring forward.” We “gained” an hour and went into (or is it out of?) daylight savings time.
Daylight savings has always confused me.
Is there some temporal bank that deposits all those saved days?  What’s the long-term interest rate on a day saved?  
A penny saved, a dollar earned. A day saved, a year earned?  And are we now in the real time or the fake time? And what is reality?
Are the lucid dreams of human perception mere shadows of the uncertainty of our own existence?
Oh, sorry.  I was digressing. Well, more like hallucinating! Let’s get back to saving dimes and times.
The history of Daylight Savings goes back to Benjamin Franklin proclaiming “Early to bed, early to rise,” suggesting that if one uses the morning sun, one can save money by using fewer candles at night.  
Of course, Franklin drank a lot and you really don’t need to see all that well when you’re stone drunk.
Some people credit daylight savings to George Hudson, an entomologist who wanted more afternoon illumination to collect insects.  
And I bet you thought it had something to do with not wanting people to drive in the dark?
Actually, the concept of daylight savings evolved through several steps, such as being used in WWI to conserve coal usage.
As we reset all our clocks at home, my wife had a great idea.  Why not use this same strategy on winter months?  
We’re not big fans of winter weather, so why not simply move the start of winter “forward” by three weeks and the end of winter “backward” by three weeks?  
We would get six fewer weeks of nasty weather and get to enjoy a longer autumn and spring! Well, in theory this would work.
And why stop at saving to economize on winter storms, coal usage and collecting bugs? There are many issues we could solve simply by using “Whatever Saving” time.
For example, we love that extra hour of sleep we get when we “Fall back,” so why not fall back two? And let’s do it every night!
Save two hours a day and get two extra hours of sleep every night.  
Of course, we would eventually have to “spring forward,” but hey, let our kids worry about that.
We’ll just deposit those hours in some ethereal time bank and 20 or 30 years from now, our kids can figure out how to pay back the 10 months of sleep we “borrowed” each decade.
And I’ve got an even better use of this strategy.  Within a month, the National Debt will hit the $15 trillion mark.
This might bother some people, but not those of us who have a nice healthy “Let’s use Whatever Savings time for everything” mentality.  
I say, “Borrow early and borrow often!” Bank that debt alongside the winter weeks and the nighttime hours and let our kids worry about how to put it all back together in the future!
Too many people are worrying about how we must one day “Spring forward” and recoup all that lost money.  
It’s not lost folks.  It’s just, well, it’s just being “saved.”  Yeah, saved.
Well, I’d like to discuss this some more, but it’s getting late and I need my 15 hours of sleep tonight.
 
John Pawlak
Los Alamos columnist