COLUMN: Longer days provide ‘opportunities’

George W. Bush may not have been the brightest light to shine in the White House, but he did bring one benefit to North America ...

George W. Bush may not have been the brightest light to shine in the White House, but he did bring one benefit to North America – the adoption of three more weeks of daylight saving time.

Now, instead of wasting daylight on the early mornings of March, we can use them in the evenings to work in the yard, play in the parks or simply enjoy the sunset at a more convenient time.

You don’t see much of “W” any more, though he was featured in a commercial this winter to promote the charitable sale of his Ford pickup.

His most memorable visual to me, however, was on that fateful day in September 2001 when, sitting in a Florida classroom, the camera closed in on him as he was informed of the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

The two guys in the Dumb and Dumber movie could not have pulled off a better expression than George did that day, nor acted any better when, instead of leaping up and running out of the room, POTUS continued to listen to a group of children read aloud.

However, this isn’t about his shortcomings as much as his foresight in changing the way daylight saving time is introduced each year, and the benefits we all derive from that one act.

It, and hoped-for sunshine, even inspired me to take a few days out of the office to tackle some yard work that even with longer evenings will require time to complete before the inevitable lawn mowing begins in earnest.

The break might also provide some time for me to catch up on all the email replies I have neglected for the past month.

I’d like to be able to blame Shaw for my lack of responses, but even its failure to deliver emails last week isn’t an excuse, because they claim only one message failed to arrive.

Apparently, in its effort to eradicate spam, the company last Thursday killed all email messages, regardless of content, demonstrating a “Bushian” propensity for error that, considering how much they charge for Internet service, is excusable only if a significant adjustment is made on our monthly bill.

Kind of like daylight saving time increases – do something smart and we’ll likely forget the stupid things.

And it isn’t only presidents and giant corporations attempting to right dumb decisions.

Another reason for my current “staycation” is to try to avoid being, to use a polite word, a boor, because I am entering the second week of a stop-smoking program. According to the medication, there is the possibility, though in my case it is a propensity, to be aggressive when using it, while at the same time eliminating the supposed “calming” effect of a cigarette.

So, in an effort to shield all those who may come in contact with me, a decision to “hermitize” for a few days is perhaps the best choice, particularly when trying to end a relationship that has endured for more than half a century.

Why, after so long, am I making the effort?

While it takes about $3,500 a year to maintain the habit, the true motivator was the thought of eventually spending my last days hooked up to an oxygen tank, the hoses leading to my nose diminishing somewhat my perception of looking sexy.