OK, I’ve changed my mind. 

Mark LaFlamme

Nov. 1 isn’t the most depressing day of the year, as I’ve been declaring in my petulant little boy’s voice for the past few decades. 

The worst day, hands down and by far, is the day we set the stupid clocks back so that the the stupid dark comes stupid early. 

It’s stupid. And depressing. 

Mostly depressing. 

All day on that first day of the fall back position (which is stupid) we sun-loving souls will wander around in a daze, feeling disoriented and out of sorts. Some of us will slip into our feety pajamas at 4 o’clock in the afternoon because it looks and feels like bedtime. By then, we’ve already been sipping steadily at the cocktails because, waddaya know? Noon felt like happy hour. 

The pressing dark is as foreboding as the blackness on the dead side of a tomb door. In those early rising shadows are a legion of morose reminders of what was once so good and warm and bright. We haul our lawn chairs to the basement, recalling how we used to sit in them in a saner time of year when the sun still shone at 8 p.m. 

Down come the hammocks, the grills, the horseshoe pits. The backyard, once a glorious playground of barbecues and Wiffle ball games played in 9 p.m. twilight, is now cursed with dead leaves, loomed over by skeletal trees and drowned in darkness that crawls in before supper hour. The season of joy is dead and on comes the gloom. 

Can’t something be done?

Every year, we hear passionate appeals from people who argue that we should stop putzing around with this silly time change and simply stick with Daylight Savings Time year-round. Sure, winter days will still be long and dark, but we won’t get that hour of precious sunlight stolen away from us each November, a trauma that sends some people straight to the liquor cabinet for a six-month bender.

But will it ever happen?

After doing some exhaustive research, I’ve learned that 19 states, including Maine, are lobbying to stay on DST year round. This would normally excite me all over the place, but I know that the forces of darkness trying to keep us in this grim place are strong. I know because I conducted a nearly scientific poll on the issue and what was revealed was terrifying: stark raving mad folks who delight in the earlier darkness because A. they have bodies to bury in the backyard or B. they pee outside a lot. 

Here’s what those truly deranged folks have to say about the current system of early dark (which, I should remind you, is stupid): 

“I like the light in the morning, personally,” said one such deviant. “Dark at night is cozy.” 

“It’s awesome!” bellowed another. “It just means I take my nightly edible an hour early.” 

“Being a morning person and fizzling out early afternoon,” ranted one lady, who clearly has STACKS of bodies to be buried in the dark, “it suits me.” 

“Personally, I quite like it,” said yet another woman (and I’m starting to detect a trend here). “I’m an introverted night owl, and I have always felt peace when it’s dark out.” 

On and on they go, using adjectives like “cozy” and “snug” and “this one is starting to rot” to describe their unholy lust for darkness. None of them came right out and declared fealty to the dark lord Gilgamesh, but it all comes down to the same thing. 

Sure, there are rational, clear-thinking folks who feel the way I do about this madness, but what chance do we have against a force as ancient and powerful as darkness itself? 

None, I fear, and so each year we will continue to go through this grim ritual of setting our clocks back (But not that one! That one set itself, fool!) and we will stumble in the dark toward bleak and unforgiving winter because that’s the law of the land and who are we but sun-starved sheep obliged to follow it? 

Or something like that. It’s all muddled now in my head, what with the math, the disorientation and the Cutty Sark for lunch. 

To me, Nov. 7, 2021, was the bleakest of days in a year that has been bleak in so many new and exciting ways. The time change is just darkness heaped upon darkness and I have nothing but dread and loathing for the coming winter. 

But other than that, I’m just fine. 

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