Murphy and daylight savings


Webster’s defines…

(Ok… no… it doesn’t. At least not here. The entire “Webster’s defines” concept has become a punchline. It now exists in a fashion where even if well-intended, whatever follows that statement is either completely blocked out (since the entire audience without exception stops listening after hearing those words) or will be viewed as a joke. Still… the general idea remains…)

Murphy’s Law has become something that we all seem to know, all seem to understand, and in many ways all seem to expect. It has been accepted as a law, with a standardized definition. Here it is…

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

And when fully considered, the concept becomes even more interesting. Because when you invoke Murphy’s Law… while you are making a humorous shoulder shrug toward “of course something went wrong, we should have expected that”… you are pretty much placing in motion the acceptance of a predetermined, fixed in time, fated event (or set of events).

Last Saturday night was celebrated for the gift of an extra hour of sleep. Or, more to the point, the wonderful “fall back” joys of resetting the clocks.

The event itself technically happens at 2am on Sunday morning. However, on principle, I don’t believe the day changes until you go to sleep. So it was that early Saturday evening, I found myself sitting at the computer. I was just about done with the work I intended to wrap up for the day, and was going to watch some television with Terry.

She was working on something… and I knew we’d be headed off to sleep after watching television… so while she finished her to-do items, I decided to walk around the house and adjust all of the clocks that needed to be manually corrected for the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Our phones change their settings automatically. Computer does the same thing. Every clock that didn’t change on its own… including the car… got my attention.

Or so I thought.

On Sunday morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee, headed to the computer to do some work, and settled in. I had been debating heading out in to the yard for a bit, but didn’t want to start up the lawn mower early on a Sunday morning. I decided an hour or two (or three) of writing would get us closer to noon and a more acceptable don’t-disturb-the-neighbors hour for firing up the engine.

As I finished the coffee, I looked off to the side at a clock showing it was about 11:30. I was stunned. The morning had flown by. I brought the coffee cup to the sink, grabbed my sneakers, put on a sweatshirt, and got ready to head outside. As I did, I saw a clock. A different clock.


Yeah… somehow, a clock I usually don’t end up using for anything and totally forgot about the evening before turned out to be the first clock I looked at the next morning.

(Hi Murphy! How are you?)

The clock experience isn’t an example of anything major or life-altering by any stretch of the imagination. It does highlight a very important aspect about the law though.

The humorous portions of Murphy’s Law are that things go wrong. They have happened. They happen. And they will happen. Prepare for the rain… actually, no, not just the rain… always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, because something will go wrong.

But, the most amazing portion of Murphy’s Law isn’t really the overwhelming sense of inevitability. And it’s not laughing the wrong off when the wrong happens. It is that “predetermined, fixed in time, fated” aspect that springs from extends from the belief that it will happen. That part saying you can take steps for prevention, and it won’t matter.

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

You can lock the front door… predetermined arrives at the back.

You can fill the car with gas… fixed in time arrives with a dead battery.

You can bring an umbrella… fate arrives with wind sweeping rain drops sideways or blowing the umbrella along into uselessness.

Anyone with kids or pets can tell you all about Murphy and the switching of clocks. Dogs wishing to go outside or for long walks do not look over at the nightstand to check out the clock before waking you in the morning. Unless it involves their own naps, dogs do not appreciate the rare treat of sleeping a bit longer.

Funny thing… I have a sister living in Australia. Guess what? In places there where the hours are adjusted, clocks are moved in an opposite direction and on different dates than those changes many of us make in the United States.

In a few months, the day will arrive when many of us lose an hour of sleep where I live. Because that’s what happens… along with everything that inevitably follows.


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