Every Second Counts
by Jan Baughman

Another June 21st came and went; sure, it was a long day, but it still doesn't feel like summer. There is another long day coming up on the 30th, Summer Solstice II. It seems we are a bit behind in our time-keeping, so the National Institute of Standards and Technology is adding an extra second to June 30th so that we can get back in synch with reality. Personally, I would like to know who authorizes these chrono-manipulations. Shouldn't they be put to a vote? We certainly can't afford another second -- this will add an extra $6,956 to the national debt. Not to mention the impact on crime. I figure that there will be an additional .006 rapes, .00002 gay-bashings, .25 burglaries; overall, an extra 1.2 crimes in that second. Fortunately, approximately .88 will be property crimes and only the remainder will be violent in nature.

Since the days are getting shorter now, a lot of you will want to take advantage of this extra time outdoors. Be careful on your bicycle. A cycling-related injury will land .02 people in the emergency room during that second, and countless others will tend to their injuries at home. If you are under 24, an extra .0000531 of you will drown. It's best to just stay out of the water that day, but don't forget to re-apply the sunscreen.

Debt, crime and injuries aside, I don't think it is right for some government time-keeper to speed up my aging process without my consent. I spend a lot of time and energy fighting against time's insults against my body, mostly to no avail of course, but I know I'll be spending that extra second trying to slow things down a bit. And I'll probably lose more than a few minutes just trying to reset my clock...

Anyway, don't waste too much time on this existential matter. Just keep reading Swans and age gracefully.

Published June 23, 1997
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