348 to 40: Saved by The Leap Year


I’m supposed to be writing and publishing one of these pieces a day. Not for any kind of assignment, mind you. I gave myself this writing task. One piece in this series a day, until one day I wake up and I’m 40, and have a ton of pieces to look back on. Except, life gets crazy and busy, and I fell off the assignment last night as I passed-the-fuck-out before I got a chance to write something for it. But then, it hit me.

Next year is a leap year. Technically, I have an extra day in my 30’s, since I turn 40 during that leap year. So, if we just pretend that me skipping yesterday/falling asleep before I could write something didn’t happen, I’m right back on track! Everything’s coming up Jambo!

Of course, I’m still not sure why, in 2020 leap years are still a thing. I mean, I get the rationale we were told about leap years as kids. That there’s like a quarter of a day left in the non-leap years, and that every four years we gather up those extra hours and make a whole day of them…but I don’t actually know for sure if that’s the case; or if it’s even necessary. Time is an invention of our own making. If the first person who declared days and hours to exist had said they started upon moonrise, we’d call day “night” and vice versa, and well, what difference would it ultimately make in our lives? It’s all so goddamn arbitrary, and the older I get the more fascinated I am by how much we humans dig our heels in and insist the rest of society keep adhering to these arbitrary customs and traditions.

What would happen if we stopped doing leap years? Well, I’ve got an old friend from high school who was born on February 29th, so it would rob him of the one day every four years he gets to have an official, “actual” birthday. So that would suck. But Rick could always choose to celebrate it on February 28th, or March 1st, which would have been his birthday every year, were it not for the leap year he was born in. 

There are, of course, millions more like Rick, so I don’t want to rob them of a real birthday. I just want to figure out what would really happen if we decided adding one day to a year every four years wasn’t the jam anymore. The leap year next year costs us a Friday Halloween, by the way. My good friend Germain and I were lamenting this fact the other night. The best night for Halloween really is Friday. You have the longest amount of time to recover from your shenanigans, and kids be out as late as they want trick or treating. In a non-leap year, next Halloween would be a Friday night. But, no! We gotta leap, so it’s gonna be a on Saturday. This is, of course, just fine, but we got short-shrifted out of a Friday Halloween, and why? Because we have some extra hours leftover?

And, again, is that true? Are there really like six extra hours a year? And if so, how does the math work that just every four years we combine those hours into one day? Also, wouldn’t a year with an extra day in it necessarily mean there probably even more “leftover” hours in it than a standard, 365-day year? I know I could answer these questions for myself with a little Google sleuthing, but it’s early in my day, I made the dire mistake of having Taco Bell for lunch yesterday, and I’m need of a serious “don’t put out much effort” kind of life experience right now. At least until the consequences of my dietary decisions have worn off.

At any rate, the point here is that I’m back! I’m back on schedule, and it’s thanks to the baffling concept of a leap year that I’m back on track. Not that I couldn’t or won’t take another day off from this project I gave myself if needs be, but it’s nice to have an early save to use…and so I’m using it.

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading!

Catch up on the rest of the year’s entries HERE.

Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.


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