Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

Adjusting to DST While Avoiding HADGird yourself. The first part of Uncle Sam’s semi-annual “time share” shell game is about to begin.

This has nothing to do with partial ownership of a mountain cabin or a condo by the sea. Rather, it’s the twice-yearly business of turning our clocks one hour forward, waiting a few months, then turning them one hour back. Sorta like smacking yourself in the nose so you’ll know how good it feels when the throbbing subsides.

But now there’s another acronym to add to your March vocabulary: HAD.

It stands for “heart attack deadline,” and I swear on a stack of grandfather clocks I’m not making this up.

HAD can be traced to a study by Dr. Amneet Sandhu of the University of Colorado in Denver. According to Doc Sandhu’s research, hospitals see nearly a 25 percent increase in heart attacks on the first Monday after Daylight Saving Time goes into effect in the spring. Apparently the change seriously disrupts some people’s internal wiring. They get stressed and fatigued to the point that their tickers (in their chest, not on their wrist) go kaput.

I have nothing to judge the quality of Doc’s study, but my gut reaction leans toward baloney.

Then again, my gut often leans toward baloney, especially if it’s thick-sliced, tucked between two hunks of light bread, dressed with lettuce and tomato, and slathered with Duke’s mayo. But that’s not the heart attack-inducing baloney I’m referring to in this instance.

The reason I’m not wholly convinced is because any abrupt, one-day, 25 percent jump in heart attacks—or rickets, mumps, dandruff and ingrown toenails, for that matter—is huge. There could be a variety of contributing factors. I’d have to see a lot more research before I started worrying about The Big One just because our clocks moved ahead 60 minutes.

Not that my body doesn’t complain. It does take a day or three for me to adjust to DST, especially in the spring. But it’s nothing more serious than an extra yawn. Not the sudden onset of a heart att—Aiiiiee! Thump!

Ha-ha. Just kidding. I’m still typing, so it’s safe to say I always manage to beat the HAD rap. Hope you do, too.

To DST or not to DST is a never-ending question for state governments to argue about. Arizona and Hawaii are the only two to reject it outright, although a couple of others in the West are threatening. Fine by me. I’m so sick of 24/7 standard news blather by talking heads, any change in the bickering cycle would be welcome, whatever time it occurs.

Frankly, I wish DST was cut in half and then made permanent. Instead of a 60-minute swing twice annually, just do it for 30 minutes and thereafter quit messing with our timepieces, period. That would provide the best, or worst, of both worlds, depending on individual perspective. After a year or two, I daresay everybody would be used to it and quit fussing.

Ha-ha. Just kidding again. We Americans can come up with an arguing point at the drop of a hat—starting with what kind of hat should be dropped. Ten-gallon Hoss Cartwright special? Derby? Fedora? Straw boater? Baseball cap?

If it’s a baseball cap, should the brim be worn in front or back? What color? What kind of fabric? What team logo or company slogan?

See what I mean? There’s never been a quarrel we can’t leap into with both feet and both fists.

Whether you’re “fer it” or “agin it,” though, the arrival of DST is especially beneficial for snow-ravaged portions of the United States. I learned this nugget of knowledge from Sam Doughty, a deep thinker and longtime reader of my drivel—which is frightening in its own regard.

As Sam recently told me: “The extra hour of daylight sure will help melt the snow and ice all across the country.”

Sam didn’t mention whether DST changes the egg-laying habits of his chickens, the growth of his corn, or the condition of his heart. No doubt additional deep thinking is required on his part.

I recommend Sam conduct it over a tasty baloney sandwich. And I hope he chews carefully to avoid biting the tongue in his cheek.

Sam Venable is an author, stand-up comedian, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN)
News Sentinel.
He may be reached at