What does self-help guru Tony Robbins have in common with William Tell composer Giaocchino Rossini and Pope Paul III? They all were born on Feb. 29, the two-thousand-year-old calendar correction that pays us a visit once every four years and was the brainchild of one Julius Caesar.
Leap Day babies has its own category in The Guinness Book of World Records. One family in Great Britain has the distinction of three successive generations, spanning 56 years, being born on Feb. 29.
Speaking of long odds, none of us should expect to win the lottery, but it’s no leap to say that, this year, each of us wins one-quarter-of-one-percent more time, thanks to magical Day No. 366 (though sequentially it’s Day No. 60).
And what better gift than to have Leap Day fall on a Monday! Who wouldn’t leap at the chance to celebrate an unscheduled three-day weekend? Hoppy Leap Day!
New York Yankees announcer Michael Kay would call it bonus cantos, his homage to Latin players’ phrase for the extra innings tacked on when a beisbol game is tied after the regulation nueve innings.
To make the most of bonus cantos, we all should take a quantum leap and use the day to do something we might not otherwise think, or have time, to do.
Don’t like Caesar salad? Order one anyhow, in tribute to the historical figure who bequeathed us the day.
Tell someone you secretly loathe to take a leap, and then add that you’re only kidding. Oops! That’s what we do on a different quasi-holiday that kicks off the month of April.
Those on a romantic rebound shouldn’t get too close to Lover’s Leap. For those deep in a relationship, why not take a leap of faith and propose.
According to Irish legend, Leap Day is when women propose to men.
Balancing gender roles is in harmony with the day’s purpose of balancing the year. (If we didn’t have a leap day quadrennially, the world’s atomic timekeepers assure us, we would lose six hours every 12 months.)
In the old country, European aristocrats were unflinchingly serious about a young man’s obligation to accept a young lady’s marriage proposal on Leap Day. At one point, it was legislated that spurning the conjugal overture required the lout to buy a dozen pair of gloves for the lovely-lass-turned-lonely-lass, thus enabling her to mask the absence of an engagement ring.
The Greeks were suspicious of this extra day, with an attitude that said, “What? You come around once every four years and expect us to fall all over ourselves in giddy rapture?”
The Greeks actually preached “look before you leap,” and deemed it unlucky to be married anytime in a Leap Year, let alone on Leap Day.
If our friends Rossini, Robbins or Pope Paul III were Scottish, the day they were born would have sent shivers into their parents.
The Scots believed it was bad news to enter the world on Feb. 29, so they presumably would just as soon have scotched the extra day.
By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how Tony Robbins, born in 1960, is able to retain his boyish good looks, now you know: In leap years, he’s only a precocious 11-year-old.
Media and marketing specialist Bruce Apar, also known as Bruce The Blog, is Chief Content Officer of Pinpoint Marketing & Design, a Google Partner agency. He also is an independent content and media consultant under the banner of APAR All-Media, a Hudson Valley marketing agency. Follow him on Bruce The Blog and Hudson Valley WXYZ on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 275-6887.