The History of Leap Year

In modern day Somers, most people celebrate Leap Day by resetting their calendar watches. Many don’t realize that leap year as we know it was recognized way back in the time of the ancient Egyptians. By ancient, I’m talking about Egyptians who were 64 years old. They were angry that those who were born the same year, on what we now call Feb. 29, were having their “sweet 16” parties.

That’s because the time it takes for Earth to rotate on its own axis is in no way connected to the time it takes for Earth to complete its orbit around the sun. Julius Caesar, in consultation with astronomers, instituted a yearly calendar that ran 365.25 days. He took one year, 46 B.C., and declared that it would be 445 days long, to make up for all the leap years that had been previously missed. He used the extra days to invent a salad that has anchovies in it, so no, he did not manage his time wisely in my opinion.

You might be thinking that people seemed to have a lot of extra time on their hands back then, to be making all these observations, and you would be correct. They went to sleep on Feb. 28, and woke up with the realization that they had an extra five hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to play with, and binge-watching “Orange is the New Black” had not been invented yet. In fact, back then, “black” was the new black.

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What I would like to know is, why can’t they just make each second a little longer? A second is made up of milliseconds, right? And each millisecond is a million seconds, right? No? This may be a good time to point out that I scored a 425 on my math SAT. But the point I’m trying to make is that you could divide the amount of time left over each year by the number of days in the year, and just add it to each day. You could also add some tonic water and a jigger and a half of gin. Then the whole thing wouldn’t seem so important.

Or we could just take that extra almost six hours, and do some of the crap that we just haven’t found time to do during the year. My wife is always after me to clean out that little box where she puts all the stray things that most wives would simply throw out and then lie about it later. There are things in it like one shoelace, which I store there on the off chance that I lose one shoe, and the lace to the one I still have breaks. In the bottom of the box are also a bunch of screws that I will use to put back together that thing that I took apart, if I can remember what it was. When my wife adds one to the box, she is happy to point out that I have another screw loose.

There are a lot of business cards in this box, but a business card is something that is only useful if someone happens to hand it to you at the exact time you need it. Otherwise it goes into that little box until you’re in the market for a service performed by a friend of a friend of a friend that he met while in prison. Nowadays, business cards are less important anyway, since people just go to that website where professionals get in touch with each other. I think it’s called “Tinder.”

I have another fantastic idea, in case you rate the above ideas as only “great.” Add the five hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to New Year’s Day. That way, when I’m hung over, I can dig down into the bottom of that box, find those screws, and put that damn thing back together, whatever the hell it was. That reminds me to mix myself a screwdriver.

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