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Time warps us all

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, March 9, 2013

More than a few years ago, when we were members of a church in Springtown, we got caught in a time warp.

You know what a time warp is, don’t you? No? Obviously you’re not a fan of mid-20th-century science fiction, when characters frequently went through them and found themselves in the past or the future.

Bob Buckel

Bob Buckel

Usually, they were hunky movie stars, and they landed (with arms out, feet spread and hair looking fantastic) in the O.K. Corral during a gunfight, or in the French Revolution at a guillotine party, or in the middle of a dinosaur fight, or on some planet in the future where all the girls looked like Miss America 1966, but lived in craters, wore rayon, and occasionally got eaten by hairy behemoths.

As you can tell, I was a fan of mid-20th-century science fiction.

Back to our own personal time warp.

It was spring, and we knew that at some point very soon our government was going to ask us to “spring forward” by moving our clocks ahead an hour.

Never mind that we’d all be better off if we literally did “spring forward” on a regular basis. I’d recommend 12 springs forward, then 12 springs back, then rest awhile and repeat. Some people call them lunges. Unfortunately, most people (me included) are a lot more familiar with lunches than lunges, and our bodies show it.

Anyway, anticipating that spring forward, but not bothering to take the time to find out when it would actually occur, my family fell victim to my ignorance.

On Saturday, I was reading the church bulletin from my parents’ church (hours away) and took note of a small item that reminded members about the “time change” coming up the next Sunday.

“Aha!” I told myself. “Glad I spotted that! Now we’ll be among the very small crowd at Bible classes who can ridicule (in a Christian way) those who show up for worship thinking they were going to be on time for class!”

Even better was the chance to laugh (kindheartedly, of course) at those who would be arriving just as we were heading out the door. They thought they’d be on time for worship, and they missed it entirely.

Not us, I said to myself. We’re smart. I’m smart.

That night, I set all the clocks ahead after the kids were tucked in bed (early, I might add) and the next morning we got up, ate breakfast, got ready and hit the road.

But as we approached the church building I noted that there were absolutely no cars there.

Could it be, I asked myself, that no one but me took note of the time change? Could I not only be the smartest, but the only smart one?

Not likely, my wife’s expression said.

Puzzled, I drove around the parking lot for a few minutes. Then it occurred to me to drive past a bank that had one of those electronic signs that tells you the time and temperature.

It was wrong, I said. Probably some junior vice president has to reset that thing, and he didn’t work on Saturday.

(Note that this was before cell phones, which are now smart enough to take care of the time change without consulting their owners.)

After driving around puzzled, like a character in a “Twilight Zone” episode, I finally took the family to a convenience store and bought the kids donuts. They’d need a little something to tide them over, since lunch was going to be an hour later than usual.

We went to church at the old time, and everyone was there. I didn’t say anything, just noted that all of their watches, and all the clocks in the building, were also wrong. The whole world, in fact, was wrong.

I called my folks that afternoon and asked them about this mythical “time change” their bulletin spoke of.

“Oh, we moved our services back a half-hour,” my mom said.

How smart!

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday. If you’re early to church, it’s OK. You’re in good company.

Bob Buckel is the Messenger’s executive editor.

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