An evening conversation: Ah, survival

By Stephen Cameron

Did you make it through the ordeal?

Are you feeling OK? Any need to see a doctor, change your will or look for a new job?

Whew… Glad we’re all still here, frisky as ever, and fit enough to trudge forward with no serious ill effects.

After all, ”springing forward” apparently is only slightly less dangerous than lying down to take a nap in the middle of I-70.

That’s what behavioral scientists and other distinguished observers of the human condition seem to believe. They not only take the beginning of Daylight Saving Time with deadly seriousness but caution us to tread carefully through those first couple of days.

You think I’m kidding?

A study produced by the University of Alabama-Birmingham suggests that any physical problems associated with bumping your clock forward one hour do NOT occur on Sunday – the day you wake up with some time missing from your life.

However, the following Monday and Tuesday are downright scary. The UAB report notes that the risk of having a heart attack is 10 percent greater on those two days that at any other time of the year.

Now then… One way to cut down on that scary 10-percent jump would involve moving to Sweden.

It seems that equally earnest scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have turned up findings that THEIR study group only displayed a 5 percent rise in heart attacks on the first two days of Daylight Saving Time.

So off to Sweden, and your heart is 5 percentage points better off — except, of course, that you would be facing some serious jet lag. And yes, that’s the same sort of problem as Daylight Saving Time.

Except worse.

Apparently, we’re at more risk – not to mention tired, mentally fuzzy and so forth – whenever we try tricking our natural body rhythms into thinking it’s a different time of day or night.

Regular travelers know all about jet lag, and it really isn’t pleasant.

Prior to taking this gig with The Mercury, I was senior editor at “Coliseum” – a trade magazine distributed to people working in the sports and entertainment venue industry.

It was fun and kind of exciting, seeing spectacular new stadia around the world, interacting with various cultures, but… As an example, my duties included moderating industry conferences – and the two most recent ones were in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

It was fascinating to see an Arab nation, really, and there’s a teeny little thrill taking a boat ride in the Persian Gulf – skirting Iranian waters and wondering if the skipper of our dhow actually could read a compass.

What was not fun, however, was that nine-hour time difference. The flight back from Doha to Kansas City, with stopovers in Amsterdam and Minneapolis plus a couple of delays, took 33 hours.

Now that is turning your body clock upside down.

Switching to Daylight Saving Time isn’t quite as severe as starting a day in Kansas and finally going to sleep 8,000 miles away with camels outside the window – but it’s the same principle.

That was YOUR excuse for being the cranky the past couple days, wasn’t it?

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