Commonwealth Journal

March 5, 2013

It’s almost time to ‘spring forward’

By BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

This newspaper, as a public service, is happy to suggest things to ponder as you stumble across the floor at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday to turn your clock ahead an hour to comply with Daylight Saving Time.
  • If your aching joints flash with pain as you put your feet on the floor, you are old enough to remember when most folks set their clocks by the noon fire whistle in town.
  • Your thoughts may drift to the treasured  “dollar watch” sold at every hardware store. A pocket watch that lost or gained no more than 5 minutes in 24 hours won bragging rights around the pot-bellied stove in the country store. Do you recall the shock when they started selling “dollar watches” for $2.98?
  • Then, there was always the “Bertha Better Than You” who pulled a railroad watch secured by a silver lob to his vest pocket. A coveted railroad timepiece was a symbol of accuracy surpassing the noon whistle from the fire station. Railroad watches had maximum variation of 30 seconds (approximately 4 seconds daily) per weekly check.
  • Do you remember the Bulova Accutron with its tuning fork hum and guaranteed accuracy of 20 sections a month? The Accutron, introduced during the early 1960s, was an upgrade from a mechanical watch that uses a mechanical mechanism to measure the passage of time. Today’s modern quartz watches function electronically.
 If your memories are made of these you likely have time on your hands. No doubt, you were presented a watch when you retired several years ago.
  Frankly, time doesn’t mean much anymore to aging seniors; anymore than a hog knows when Sunday comes. Split-second accuracy of today’s atomic timepieces is irrelevant to oldsters when one doesn’t have to punch the clock. Younger folks have correct time displayed on their smart phones.
  Most of today’s atomic clocks adjust to the precise second via radio signal from the U.S. Atomic Clock in Boulder, CO. These radio-controlled timepieces even change automatically to Daylight Saving Time.
  But really. Who cares about split-second time?  Far sweeter it would be to hear the noon whistle at the fire station; or a striking clock; or to tell time with a trusty “dollar watch.”
 Our advice is worthless but free: If you have a clock that needs setting, run it up an hour before you go to bed Saturday night. You’re going to lose an hour’s sleep no matter what, so why add to the lost time by getting up in the middle of the night?