What time is it? Is it really? In Celsius, even?

Sometimes you just have to put 2 and 2 together.

  • Ipswich Town Meeting was scheduled to start at 7 o’clock Tuesday evening, but as Ipswich’s new local newspaper reported, only 147 people had signed in by 7:10, and by law you need at least 200 before you can start conducting business.

It was 7:30 — a full 30 minutes after the announced start time — when Town Moderator Tom Murphy announced attendance at 199.

Finally the 200th person sauntered in.

Then, incredibly, the entire slate of warrant articles was dispensed with in 70 minutes.

The whole thing was over by 8:40.

It’s a little sad, though, that everyone could have been on their way to the bar at Choate Pub by 8:10, if the citizenry had only been on time.

  • A scant five days later — the opposite problem.

Just like every year at about this time, numerous disgruntled Ipswich churchgoers this past Sunday morning found themselves sitting in the pews a full hour ahead of schedule. Why? Because they failed to reset their clocks as Daylight Saving Time expired. These are perhaps the same cranky, shame-faced people you find arriving at church an hour late at the onset of Daylight Saving Time in the spring.

(Of course, yes, a few of the devout often arrive early for services just to sit and pray and reflect and so forth. But let’s face it: If you didn’t actually intend to arrive early to pray and reflect and so forth, it’s really annoying to arrive at church an hour early. It sort of brings out the devil in you, don’t you think? Which, as you can imagine, pretty much wrecks the whole idea of the church experience.)

So here we are.

This is one of those magical moments when the random coincidence of two unrelated actions produces a valuable insight — something like finding mold in a laboratory culture plate and inventing penicillin.

(By the way, our local Board of Health would have jailed that guy for the mold. So you should be glad that the sloppy lab was nearer to Ipswich, England than to Ipswich, Massachusetts. Because otherwise, that infection you get next week is going to be exceedingly serious.)

Here, then, is the breakthrough concept, expressed in all the glory of its simple components:

  • Town Meeting: People are late.
  • Daylight Saving Time ends: People are early.
  • So: Ipswich just needs to move its fall Town Meeting to the Sunday when Daylight Saving Time.

The churchgoers will show up early, and we’ll have a quorum by starting time.


Thank me later. Maybe, like, exactly an hour later.



Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich. Way out there. Practically in a different time zone. For laughs, click “Follow” here at Outsidah.com. For a chuckle every morning, click “Follow” at ComplicatedEnglish.com. To tune in to what’s really important, look at Doug’s charity NewThing.net, in the former Soviet Union.


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