Ben Franklin is trying to kill me…
by Patrick Clapp
…and the Peking Noodle Company isn't helping matters one bit. As I have mentioned before, the perception of time and how we manage it can be the object of no small amount of debate. Case in point, daylight saving time, or rather, the lack of it. In my research I found that, in addition to Arizona, two other states do not follow the prescripts of the Franklin doctrine; Indiana and Hawai'i. Hawai'i is a magical, distant land whose disconnect from the Mammetesque flow of time experienced by New York or LA is not a problem for the mental health of the country.
Indiana is flat out tricksy. The majority of Indiana, by state law, is on Eastern Standard Time all year long. These areas experience no chronological gymnastics. However, the same statute that holds these counties in stasis creates three different time arrangements for the Hoosier State. Beyond the seventy-seven counties that remain on Standard Time all year, there are fifteen counties that have their own rules. Five counties in the northwest near Chicago, and five counties in the southwest near Evansville are in the Central Time Zone. They use both Central Standard and Central Daylight Saving to synchronize with the rest of the world. In the southeast, two counties near Cincinnati, Ohio, and three near Louisville, Kentucky, are in the Eastern Time Zone but use both Eastern Standard and Eastern Daylight Saving.
Arizona, fortunately, is not mired in such a chrono-quandry. With the sole exception of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, the entire state is on Mountain Standard Time, seven hours behind Universal Standard, Coordinated, and Daylight Saving is not observed. And this is why I am convinced that Benjamin Franklin is trying to do me in. He has a willing group of accomplices, and the conspiracy is far reaching.
The plot begins in Philadelphia in the late 1700's, where the great ambassador develops his theories on the effective use of daylight as it pertains the to working hours of the American people. From there it travels to New York City in the latter 1900's, where Jon Stewart takes over the reigns of The Daily Show. It follows from New York to Los Angeles where the Pacific feed for The Daily Show is transmitted to various cable distributors. Next, Qwest, one of the cable providers for the greater Phoenix area, picks up the west coast feed of The Daily Show and delivers it to my home. At midnight. Midnight! Do you, yet, see why I receive the wry, delicious wit of Mr. Stewart and company at midnight? The reason is that the west coast feed from Los Angeles is, oddly enough, on west coast time, and thanks to Ben Franklin, California is one hour back from Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) from the months of November through April. It is killing me. I stay up until 12:30 a.m. before crawling into bed, wake up at 6:00 a.m., and start my day in a stumbling fog.
And the Peking Noodle Company is doing nothing, nothing, to help me.
On occasion, I partake of the stir-fry bar located in the cafeteria on the floor above my desk. It is a risky venture. The gentleman who prepares the stir-fry does not clearly understand the word "except", therefore, an attempt to exclude a particularly sketchy piece of cellulose with the phrase "everything except the purple stuff" is met with a happy smile…and a stir-fry with everything. So-called "fortune" cookies are available at one cookie per customer, courtesy of the Peking Noodle Company.
There are several types of fortune cookies in my world view. There are the cookies that give you a fortune, such as "Expect great things from your co-dependent, alcoholic friend". There are cookies that give you lucky numbers to help with your continuing misconceptions about the realities of statistics as they refer to the state lottery. There are also cookies that give a nugget of Mandarin on the assumption that upon your next visit to the Wok-In Take-Out, you will order, in Chinese, lobster for two with squid soup, and not your usual chicken lo mein. The holy trifecta of fortune cookies, of course, being a combination of all three.
The Peking Noodle Company is trying a new tactic. No numbers, no obtuse Mandarin, and, instead of a fortune, they offer advice. I fail to see how I can accurately prepare for my future when, in the place of useful tips such as "The bank will soon see it your way", I am offered the advice "Take no risks with your reputation". Well, no shit. I can get advice on my life anywhere. I look to the Chinese to help me prepare for the unknown. The best trifecta I have received lately was:
"There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you"
Lucky Numbers: 6, 21, 25, 31, 40, 41
Learn Chinese: Curry chicken – Ga-li-ji
Thrilling times ahead…good, good….lucky numbers 31 and 41 are prime (31 is Mersenne!), 25 has a perfect root…cool…curry chicken is a good dish, although not spicy enough…very easy to remember: "well, golly-gee". All in all, this is a good cookie, very helpful. What, then, does the Peking Noodle Company have to counter this and to help me overcome my battle with Ben?
"Get away from home awhile to restore your energies."
You think so, eh? Glad you got my back, there, Peking. I don't think I realized that a road trip would give me a break. Would it have hurt to just throw me a bone such as, "Your troubles will ease with the coming of May"? And what about teaching me how to say "hot and sour soup". That stuff is really tasty, if, of course, you have the time to enjoy it.