Quiet Desperation

An hour this Sunday will be no time at all

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 3/9/21

Soon it will be time to change our clocks again. Why? It’s a semi-annual nuisance that is debated and argued about semi-annually too. Between times, it’s forgotten. Daylight Saving Time was …

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Quiet Desperation

An hour this Sunday will be no time at all

Posted

Soon it will be time to change our clocks again. Why?

It’s a semi-annual nuisance that is debated and argued about semi-annually too.

Between times, it’s forgotten.

Daylight Saving Time was advanced by Benjamin Franklin in a 1784 essay titled “An Economical Project.”

The justifications for Daylight Saving Time are numerous and make tedious reading.

(Please do so on your own.)

Arizona and Hawaii do not change clocks. Seven other states have approved legislation to follow them and are awaiting federal approval. The feds are taking their time about it.

Some of the American citizenry experiences mood shifts when clocks are changed, particularly in the fall.

Changing clocks is somewhat less of a nuisance than it once was when all clocks had to be manually changed.

Teens: Ask your moms and dads.

Wait: Teenagers don’t read me.

Now many timepieces change on their own.

I have a $19.99 clock radio that knows when it’s time, as it were.

Fall back and spring ahead.

We spring on Sunday, March 14.

I haven’t changed my car’s clock since last November. Why? Because changing the time on my car’s clock takes either tiny fingers or a toothpick.

I knew someone who always had a toothpick in his mouth and wondered why. Dental care is important, of course, but it can be taken too far.

He’d have it in his mouth when we played touch football and touch basketball.

It was, I thought, a big risk to have a toothpick in his mouth, but I guess the coolness of it made it worthwhile.

I lost track of him. Maybe he swallowed one and maybe he didn’t.

You can still see men — never women — with a toothpicks in their mouths if you watch old movies, especially ones with gangsters.

Gangsters, private investigators, and policemen always had toothpicks nearby.

“Crime Wave,” starring Sterling Hayden, is recommended. The language is pure, stilted pulp. Hayden’s character says, “I love to smoke cigarettes. But the doctors say I can’t have them.”

Then adds, “So what do I do? I chew toothpicks. Tons of them.”

Half the time, he wears a fedora sideways that looks like it’s kept under his pillow at night.

No one messes with him because he’s the size of a power forward.

Stick around for the final scene when he relapses and smokes a cigarette that has a dog leg to the left.

I thought it was a flub, but it’s likely the director wanted Hayden to be inelegant to the end.

It’s not a comedy but the “patter” might make you laugh a little if you’re not used to noir talk.

When Hayden made the film (1953) you didn’t need tiny fingers or a toothpick to change the car clock.

I don’t know where to get tiny fingers. A friend said she and her daughters rescued a baby squirrel and domesticated it.

“It even put itself to bed every night at 8:30 on the button.”

I didn’t ask if the little fellow made the necessary adjustments semi-annually, or if half the year he went to bed at 7:30.

With Daylight Saving Time right around the corner, I don’t have enough time to find and train a baby squirrel to change my car clock.

Nuts.

Maybe by November?

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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