Leap Day should be national holiday

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer February 23, 2012 01:49 pm
It’s a little known fact that I, not actor Woody Harrelson, was inspiration for the 1992 movie “White Men Can’t Jump.”

I loved sports and through grade school and junior high played whatever sport was in season, be that football, basketball or rock, paper, scissors. 

There was only one problem. I had the raw jumping ability of a blacksmith’s anvil.

In ninth grade I was cut from the basketball team for the last roster spot. Yes, it still smarts, 40 years and a lot of water, logs and drowned rats under the bridge later.

At the time, I thought I had been cut from the team because I was approximately four feet shorter than my rival.

Standing on his tippy-toes, that guy could put the star on the Oregon state Christmas tree. He was nearly as tall as former Trail Blazer Chris Dudley — and nearly as Republican.

The last time I saw my classmate he was in the Fred Meyer grocery store parking lot riding a moped.

Now, looking back, I realize the true reason I got cut from the team and lost any hopes of being the next Jerry West playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. I also was too shy to shoot even though with a sling-shot, when there was no audience, I could knock a fly off a fencepost at 50 yards.

Of course, that only happened once. And I didn’t see the fly until after I took the shot.

The subject rises because next Wednesday is Leap Day. Feb. 29 comes around only once every four years. It’s a way to fix the calendar so January doesn’t eventually end up being a spring month and migrating geese don’t wind up spending summers on the Mexican Rivera.

If you happen to have been born on Feb. 29, as was singer Dinah Shore and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, you will graduate from college at age 6, which will impress prospective employers to no end.

You might even retire at age 17.

Of course, Congress, in efforts to move its approval rating into the single digits, will probably want to push retirement age back to 18, causing Leap Day babies to protest more than just back pain.

Leap Day is amazing. Even though it comes around just once every four years, the Keough family of Ireland had Leap Day births in three successive generations.

Karin Henriksen of Norway, meanwhile, proving that timing is everything, gave birth to three children on consecutive Feb. 29s.

Of course, when I think of Leap Day, the first thing that comes to mind is not Henriksen’s three button-nosed, bright-eyed, cross country-skiing children, but national holiday.

Face it. Americans as a nation are workaholics. And working our fingers to the bone so far has got most of us only more empty rooms in the house — and bony fingers.

If we all can’t have Presidents’ Day off, to honor George H.W. Bush for refusing to eat broccoli, at least we might be able to have a holiday that occurs only once every four years.

How about it? Does it require an act of Congress? On second thought, maybe that’s why Leap Day is still a regular work day.


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