Welcome to the new year. There are plenty of good things to go around. For one thing, the holidays are over! I am a creature of habit, a man of routine, and now finally I can return to my everyday routine of doing absolutely nothing, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than doing nothing.
It’s a time when I can try to regain my manly figure by fasting for an extended period of time in order to repair the damage I have done by eating everything in sight during the holidays. Each morning I step onto my scale dressed as I was born to see how bad things actually are, and the other day the scale didn’t even bother to give me a number. It simply said, “Are you kidding? Get off of me.”
Also, if you haven’t noticed, we are now in January, and that means the days are getting longer, not shorter as they have been for the past six months. It won’t be long before the sunrise and sunset seem less like close companions and more like distant strangers.
And if all this good news were not enough, not only are our days getting longer, but this year will be measurably longer as well, by one whole day. Yes, this is leap year, and if you do not believe me, check your calendars, and you will see whether you use a paper calendar or the one on your computer, the month of February has a 29th day.
I am sure there is an adequate explanation as to why this phenomenon only happens once every four years, or why it is called “leap year,” but if you are looking to me for any explanation astronomical, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Now you might find this whole leap year thing uneventful, but I assure you it has great meaning to all those souls born on February 29, as the Gilbert and Sullivan song “A Most Ingenious Paradox” most ingeniously points out:
“Having been born in leap-year,
on the twenty-ninth of February;
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover,
That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays,
you’re only five and a little bit over!”
And so it seems, those who try mightily to defy the aging process would have done far better by being born on February 29!