John Grindrod: Leap day thoughts and the big question

Of course, every leap year is a unique one, and every four years when one arrives, I have the same thoughts about that extra day we’re granted. Certainly, one thought is how short it seems since the last February 29. The celerity with which time passes, no doubt, is a thought that I think predominates those who’ve been blessed with senior days.

Now, I surely never remember having that same thought as to how quickly time passes during my salad years, including that different kind of senior time when I was preparing to grab my LCC diploma back in 1969. When I was young, so often, time seemed almost to march backward as I impatiently awaited three o’clock and the end of a school day so I could get outside and play. Likewise, the time it took to make it to that sweet and glorious last day of school, the gateway to three months of summer fun, was tortoise slow. And, don’t even get me started on how long it took to get to those milestone birthdays where I could get my license and talk my folks into taking that aquamarine 1966 Corvair Monza convertible on a Friday night and cruise North Street to see who was making the scene at Spyker’s or how long it took to get to that age when I could quaff a brew legally at The Hut off Dixie Highway.

Once past that impossible thought of how rapidly four more years have been erased off my linear line, I always turn to trying to recall just exactly what the scientific explanation is as to why we’re gifted this extra day every four years.

For those of you fellow right-brainers, and don’t credit me for this because I have to look it up every four years, here’s your explanation for tomorrow’s extra February day. In simplified terms, which I tried to explain was all I was capable of understanding in physics during my LCC days to one of the finest science teachers I believe this town has ever seen, Mr. Ireland, there’s a reason for our February 29s.

Approximately every four years we gain that extra day because it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds for the earth to orbit the sun. So, what’s to be done with that extra rounded-up six hours? Well, over a four-year period, those extra 24 hours becomes our bonus day. So, basically, think of it as a good way to keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in synch.

Now, with tomorrow’s bonus of what we should see as of greater value than Midas’ gold, which is more time, there comes the ultimate question and one I ponder during the run up to each leap day, and that has to do with what we should do with the extra time.

The query kind of reminds me of that commercial from ADP, a company which provides business solutions. The commercial begins with a faux newscast where the anchor speaks of a massive solar flare that has added an extra hour to the day. Then it shows various people pondering what to do with that extra hour. To a guy in a diner, he tells the server, “Bacon and eggs 25-7.” Others in office settings suggest the extra time be used for personal growth, for more work and for a company-wide power nap, the last of which is group approved. By commercial’s end, we see a couple employees perhaps from payroll or HR looking and listening to the slumbering work force, and one says to the other, “This is going to wreak havoc on overtime approvals,” while the other replies, “Maybe we should sleep on it.”

So, in similar fashion, perhaps today is the day to talk amongst ourselves as to what exactly we should do with tomorrow’s gift of time. I suppose for those born on a leap day, the answer is simple, as in REALLY celebrate something that actually only comes around once every four years. For the rest of us, let’s get thinking as to whether it’s time for a relax-and-reset or, at the other end of the spectrum, maybe time to address something procrastinated for far too long or perhaps maybe it really is time for an extra day of eating bacon and eggs.

However you decide to use the extra time, know this, gentle reader. Whatever you decide, make it a promise to make tomorrow the absolute best day of your last four years.

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected].