05:49:01 pm on
Thursday 13 Jun 2024

Trump Time
David Simmonds

Drawing by Ste Phans, the South China Morning Post

Fresh off the decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a feeling-his-oats, Donald Trump is now training his sights on another international order. The order, in question, settles the world time clock.

Why, implies Trump, give China a head start every day?

“It’s just dumb to give China a 12-hour head start on America ” said a feisty president. “While Americans are sitting home watching real news on Fox TV or fake news on CNN, the Chinese are already up and at it shovelling coal the next day. They’re eating our lunch for breakfast and laughing at us all the way to the International Date Line. Well, no more: this president puts the people of Baltimore ahead of the residents of Beijing. That’s why I’m announcing, today, that we are adopting a new American Standard Time. America will become ground zero in the international system of timekeeping. Everyone’s time will be counted from ours and counted backwards.”

Trump is essentially giving the kibosh to Greenwich Mean Time, which establishes London as the central reference point, from which 180-degrees of longitude go to the west, and the hours recede accordingly; 180-degrees of longitude go to the east, and the hours advance accordingly. The new American zero degree anchor point, chosen by a special committee, chaired by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, will be Trump Tower in New York City.

“This is America taking back longitude and becoming great again,” said press spokesperson, Sean Spicer. “Just wait till we take back latitude. America’s been giving all those fancy pants foreign countries too much latitude over the past century. That’s about to change.” In answer to questions about whether America would continue divided into time zones, Spicer was noncommittal, noting only, “the President accepts that the earth is round.”

Libya and Nicaragua may support the Trump effort.

Trump can count on little international support for the move, with the possible exception of Libya and Nicaragua. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed Canada’s continuing commitment to the Greenwich meridian, noting that it was a Canadian, Sir Sandford Fleming, who provided the stimulus for the present system. Trudeau expressed a willingness to renegotiate the issue of daylight saving time, in order to bring it up to modern standards, but added any American attempt to put punitive import duties on cuckoo clocks made in Nova Scotia, from Canadian softwood lumber, would meet with retaliatory tariffs on Fitbit watches imported from Seattle.

The British offered a more restrained reaction. “I say, that chap’s making it a rather sticky wicket,” said Sir Bartholomew Snippet, the Keeper of Royal Time in London. Nonetheless, the British government is supposedly considering retaliation, by forcing Trump-owned golf courses in Scotland to operate on American Standard Time rather than local time. “This announcement is par for the course with Trump. Let’s see if he can make par on his own course when it’s pitch dark out,” grumbled one exasperated official.

China, which stands to lose a complete day in the process, argues the move to American Standard Time is another example of the abandonment of US leadership in the world, and said it was not concerned. “We’re way more than hours ahead of the Americans, already,” said a spokesperson for China’s Minister of Trade. “And they still owe us a trillion dollars. If we really don’t like the way it plays out, all we need to do is call in the debt.”

French president Emmanuel Macron said, from his experience, Trump has never had a “firm grip” on reality. Holding a firm grip on her trademark stein of beer, German chancellor Angela Merkel stated in carefully chosen words that the announcement was further evidence Germany could no longer rely on “certain North American countries, not including Canada and Mexico,” for defence assistance. Russian president Vladimir Putin called the move “the masterstroke of a bold leader,” noting with a broad smirk that “certain patriotic Russians” could have influenced Trump’s thinking.

US Vice-president Pence calls Trump plan visionary.

Domestic reaction was more predictable. The Vice-president, Mike Pence, hailed Trump for his “visionary leadership by the greatest American with whom it has ever been my pleasure to work, He’s possibly the greatest American since Abraham Lincoln.” Meanwhile, congressional Democrats called for the establishment of an independent commission to examine whether there had been any collusion with Trump family members in the selection of Trump Tower for the ground zero timepiece.

Trump is currently resting from his big announcement at his retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. While in Florida, he is also planning his next executive order, which supposedly is a command for the waves, on his beachfront, to roll back, effective immediately or sooner, on American Standard Time.



Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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