Nov
9

S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

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A man had been driving all night to see his girlfriend at a university across the country and by morning was still far from his destination. He decided to stop at the next city he came to and park somewhere quiet so he could get an hour or two of sleep. As luck would have it, the quiet place he chose happened to be the city’s major jogging route.  No sooner had he settled back to snooze when there came a knocking on his window. He looked out and saw a jogger running in place. “Yes?” “Excuse me, sir,” the jogger said, “do you have the time?” The man looked at the car clock and answered, “8:15.”  The jogger said thanks and left.  The man settled back again, and was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window and another jogger. “Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?”  “8:25!”  The jogger said thanks and left.  Now the man could see other joggers passing by and he knew it was only a matter of time before another one disturbed him. To avoid the problem, he got out a pen and paper and put a sign in his window saying “I do not know the time!”  Once again he settled back to sleep.  He was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window. “Sir, sir?  It’s 8:45!”

In spring-summer we have more daylight hours because the sun is higher up from the horizon, thus causing it to have to travel further and longer between horizons.  In autumn-winter we have less daylight hours because the sun is lower down towards the horizon, thus allowing for it to travel a shorter distance and more quickly between horizons  For instance, the total daylight difference between June 21 and Dec 21 is over 9½ hours.

In the summer of 1907, home contractor William Willet was up at the very crack of dawn for his morning constitutional and he couldn’t help but notice how many blinds were still down in the many houses he walked past (i.e. people still in bed sleeping).  He thought to himself – if we could just move the clocks one hour forward in the summer-spring, we could get an extra hour of daylight for everybody and save on home energy cost, i.e., coal.  The wealthy businessman then published a pamphlet, The Waste Of Daylight, in which he promoted the idea.  But try as William may, the British Parliament kept voting the proposal down (one reason being clocks were a lot harder to set and re-set back then).  But finally in 1917, with World War I resulting in coal shortages at home, the concept became law.  Sadly, Willet died in 1915.  However, the government did commission a sun-dial monument in his memory.

Today, most northern countries (but no southern ones) practice DST or daylight savings time. And in Canada, the only exception to DST is that of Saskatchewan.

Thus for the vast majority of  North Americans, the time does come when the clocks have to be put back again on standard time; meaning days get shorter, nights get longer, and the weather turns colder.  Eventually, this gives rise to human depression, particularly among women (just ask any professional who does counseling).  And there’s now even a name for it – S.A.D. or (seasonal affective disorder).  What are the symptoms? Three – increased appetite, sleepiness, and weight gain.

The bottom line?  Who would have thought that on a cold winter’s night – a nice hot fire and a warm cozy couch, along with a piece of pecan pie topped with a scoop of ice cream, would say, “I am just so S.A.D.”