The ‘S’ Problem

7:00 a.m. and it’s still pitch black. Just a few days ago it was light and bright at this same hour. We have the wisdom of our Congress–of two years ago–to thank for this plunge back into darkness that they were demented enough to think was an improvement. I could go on and on about this insult to our sensitivities, as well as our sanity, but I won’t–you’ve heard it before. You’re about to see, however, how it has affected me and the workings of my mind…I won’t, though, get into what it has done to the relationship between my TV and the VCR–and yes, I still have one of those.

What’s really got me wondering about who’s running the show is the sly change of name that we call this bi-annual nudging or slipping of our hours. Have you noticed?

This “summer time,” as the French refer to it, used to be Daylight Savings Time–“Savings”–with an ‘s’ at the end as well as the beginning. A couple of years ago–so maybe it was this same misguided Congress who made the original decision–someone decided and decreed that the ‘s’ on ‘Savings’ needed to be eradicated. Now, almost overnight, word has somehow gotten to all TV news anchors–and, quite amazingly, they’ve complied–and voil&agrave, we now have Daylight Saving Time–with no ‘s’ at the end.

I want to know who got this accomplished so effectively. I want to put him or her in charge of my marketing. What a mind-blowingly efficient job this person (is it just one person?) has done with getting the ‘s’ dropped and that fact broadcast to the people that count. They say it, millions hear it, and little by little we all conform to the new s-less name. But, I have a few questions…

If it is now Daylight Saving Time, does it also mean that we now have saving accounts instead of what we used to have? And those banks that specialize, one assumes, in the saving and lending of money now have to change their names to read ‘Saving and Loan’ instead of the formerly plural form of the former?

Here in California is where all of this dropping of s’s must have begun. Here we have ‘driver licenses’–none of those licenses belonging to drivers, which in every other place I know are called ‘driver’s licenses’–with an ‘apostrophe s.’

In Atlanta, where I used to live until a year ago, there is a neighborhood that was always referred to as ‘Virginia Highlands’–with an ‘s.’ It was called that for at least 18 of the 24 years of my sojourn there, and presumably for many more prior to my arrival.

Then, suddenly, without announcement, it became ‘Virginia Highland’–no ‘s…and yet I was not aware that any of the previous ‘highlands’ had met their demise. What happened? Must have been the work of the dropped ‘s’ person on a test run in a major city before dropping the ‘s’ on Daylight Savings Time for the whole country. I felt that I was the only one to notice in Atlanta, but I know that last year several national newscasters reported on this ‘s’ dropping from our saving of daylight…and now this year they are pretending as if it has always been this way.

Another ‘s’ problem, while we’re on the subject–although to be truthful, the offending ‘s’ is only part of the story, really gets on my nerves.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our sense of plurals, shocking as that may not seem. We used to have two expressions to use when declaring the presence of something or some things. the expressions are “there is” and “there are,” depending if one or more things are being talked about.

There is a tree. There are two trees. Simple…or so you would think. Why then does everyone now say, “There’s two trees?” The ‘s’ put together with the apostrophe is a contraction for ‘is.’ But it should be ‘are’–because there are two trees, not just one. Simple. Logical even.

Listen though, and you will find that it is more likely that you know a lottery winner than that you know (or can hear) someone who says “there are two trees or many people, of lots of ideas, or a million dollars.” Why is this?

You see what dark mornings can do to my head. You can blame it all on that Congress of two years ago who turned off the light on our early mornings this year. Had I been able to wake up to the light of day instead of the dark of night this morning, I would never have thought of any of this, and wouldn’t we all have been ever so much happier?

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