April 12th, 2021


Between humans and animals, I'm not sure -- time-wise -- which of us is better off

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published March 9, 2018

Between humans and animals, I'm not sure -- time-wise -- which of us is better off

Hey, how did we get into the middle of March so fast? Wasn't it just autumn a couple of weeks ago? And now it's daylight saving time again? Unbelievable.

It's as if the fast forward button on my life was pushed in and got stuck.

All through January and even February I keep thinking that it's only the beginning of the year, relax, we've only just started. Then suddenly, before I know what hit me, March pops up and WHAM I can't kid myself anymore. We are deeply into 2018 and there's no turning back!

Speaking of daylight saving time, have you ever met anyone who really likes the stupid idea? Do you know anybody who loves turning their clocks back in fall and ahead in spring? "Boy, I can't wait to reset all my clocks and watches and re-adjust the timing on my sprinklers and get used to going to bed and waking up an hour later." Ever hear anyone say that? Of course you haven't, because most of us would rather not go through this nonsense twice a year.

Time is completely relative.

We human beings made up calendars, clocks, and everything that goes with them. People determined that there would be months of the year, days of the week, and hours in the day. I know, I know. It's all based on the rotation of the sun and the axis of the earth and the ocean's tides and all that astronomical jazz. But we still made it up.

Animals have no conception of time, except to know that when they get hungry it's time to eat and when it gets dark it's time to sleep. Animals don't know what day of the week it is and don't care. They don't know what year it is and they don't care. And they really don't know from nothing about daylight saving time and couldn't care less. With the exception of humans, all creatures on this earth get by pretty good living their lives without any knowledge of days of the week, hours of the day or minutes in an hour.

Because animals don't have calendars and clocks, they don't have holidays either. No Christmas. No Passover. No Groundhog Day. No birthdays. One day is pretty much like another to them. Sure, some days are colder than others, some days are wetter than others, but that's about the extent of it.

Animals can never be late for anything because they have no conception of "late." When your cat saunters in at 10:30 at night, you can't say, "Well, you finally decided to come home, eh? Where have you been all night, out tom-catting with the boys I suppose?" It isn't your cat's fault that he's late, he didn't invent time. Don't blame him for your stupid human time rules.

That's right, and don't expect your sweet puppy to remember your birthday either. Just because the idiot greeting card companies make birthday cards labeled "from the dog" that doesn't mean your dog actually goes in to pick one out for you. Sorry to say this, but your dog doesn't really give a rat's behind what day you were born. Hope I didn't disillusion you too much.

Between humans and animals, I'm not sure which of us is better off. On the one hand life is much simpler for animals because they have no sense of time. They don't have to set an alarm clock. They don't have to remember anniversaries. They don't schedule appointments. One day melts into another and they don't have to think about living by the clock.

On the other hand, how boring is that? No looking forward to holidays or change of seasons or celebrations or the next Star Wars picture.

But on the third hand they don't have to worry about time passing so quickly. They don't freak out over March getting here so fast.

And they don't have to deal with daylight saving time, either. They win.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.