David Bouchier

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

Yesterday a whole hour of sleep was snatched away from us by the arbitrary imposition of so-called "daylight saving time." Not only do we suffer this annual act of daylight robbery, but we waste half of Sunday trying and failing to reset all our digital timepieces, although in this age of atomic clocks they should reset themselves.

When I was a kid we took summer vacations on an island off the British coast. There was always some battered old boat on the beach with a battered old captain in a sailor’s cap offering a "Mystery Cruise." The boats smelt of dead fish, they always seemed on the point of sinking, and the mystery destination was always the same: a pub on the other side of the island. Since then cruising has become a much larger industry, but there’s no more mystery to it than there ever was.

According to an ancient legend, Leap Year Day (today) is the window of opportunity for women to propose marriage to men and, if they are rejected, to claim a silk gown as a forfeit, or perhaps a little item from Victoria's Secret. A Scottish law of 1288 prescribed a fine of "anepundis" or one pound for any man who refused to accept his fate in a gentlemanly fashion. A pound was a lot of money, in those days. More recently, Sadie Hawkins pursued L'il Abner so relentlessly through a thousand cartoon strips that some people call February 29 Sadie Hawkins's Day.

The proposal floated recently by two army generals that women should be required to register for selective service is definitely a step in the right direction, but only a step. If we follow through on the logic of this idea it would solve at least one of our global problems.

Do I hear a collective sigh of relief now that Valentine’s Day is over? It’s one of those occasions in the year when so many things can go wrong. Cards with red hearts may arrive in the wrong mailbox, plush bears may end up in the wrong bedrooms, flowers may be delivered to the wrong address, and the candlelit dinner may be inedible. Then the whole uneasy balance between romance and commercialism collapses into tragedy or farce. Other annual festivals are stressful too: Thanksgiving, The Holidays, and even New Year.

Pages