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OCTOBER 2004
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Burning Daylight
By Dori Knight

Ben Franklin wrote the famous proverb "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." I donít know about you, but I resent old dead guys who pass judgment on the state of my health, wealth, and wisdom. If he was right, then Iím going to die young, broke, and stupid.

Besides, I donít believe this "healthy, wealthy, wise" business for one minute. Logic tells me that those who rise early in the morning spend more time in the sun, increasing the risk of dehydration and heatstroke; not to mention that prolonged exposure to UV rays promotes the chance of skin cancer.

And if being early to rise is supposed to make you smarter, then what in the world was Ben Franklin doing flying a kite outside in a thunderstorm? This does not strike me as being particularly bright.

The point he was trying to make was that getting up early and working hard all day is good for you. But I beg to differ. Over a period of time, this habit may lead to various health-related issues, resulting in a need for medical attention, which will suck the life out your bank account.

My father used to wake us up on Saturday mornings by flicking the hall light on and off a hundred million times, and cheerfully exhorting, "Címon girls, thereís work to be done, and youíre burning daylight."

Left to my own devices, I would have slept until the crack of noon, eaten breakfast at two, been showered and dressed sometime around four, and ready for work just as the sun dipped below the horizon; work habits that would, no doubt, have sent Mr. Franklin into a proverbial writing frenzy.

As a writer, I have a more flexible schedule, but I do not have more time. If anything, I have far less time than my office-working counterparts. Being a work at home mother means that I get to work all night as a writer and all day as domestic engineer. I have no free time. I donít have any time at all. I donít even own a watch. Clocks have actually been known to run backward when I walk into a room.

Scientists have found that the origins of the Bermuda Triangle can be traced to my van. It is a strictly enter at your own risk zone. I have started my engine in the carport, and found myself at the grocery store two days later with no recollection of where Iíve been or how I got there.

Mr. Franklin was so certain that rising early meant a better life, he created Daylight Savings Time; a concept I have tried and failed to understand time and again. If every day has exactly twenty-four hours, then setting your clocks back an hour does not give you more time, it only tricks you into thinking you have more time. Is human kind really that easily duped?

Sure, the days are shorter in the winter, but whatís the big deal? Thanks to the invention of electricity, another Franklin contribution to our daily lives, we can simply flip a switch, turn a light on, and work all blessed night if we want to. Maybe Iím wrong, but wouldn't it be better to turn on a couple of lights, rather than expect six billion people to reset their personal time?

In fact, I think Iíve decided to forgo Daylight Savings Time this year. I donít have the time to worry about the time. There is just too much to accomplish to spend my days trying to keep these things straight. Besides, I wonít ever be late again; I will simply be choosing not to participate in traditional time keeping practices.

I guess when we realize we have burned more daylight than we have left, it is only human of us to want to open an account at the Daylight Savings & Loan and try to hide a little away, but it just doesnít work that way.

Time is not ours to save selfishly or to spend foolishly. God knows how much time we have, right down to the last second. After all, He gave daylight to us to burn as an offering to Him.

Ben Franklin also wrote that we should wish not so much to live long, as to live well. He might have been a quirky little man, but regardless of his overbearing opinions on my sleep schedule, it turns out he might have known a bit about being healthy, wealthy, and wise after all.

Copyright 2004 Dori Knight
Dori Knight is a syndicated humor columnist and a freelance writer. She is a transplanted city girl, living in the rural southern countryside with her busy husband and active children. In her free time, she enjoys planning what she would do if she ever had any free time. Visit Dori on the web at www.doriknight.com


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