Today is “Leap Day,” that day in which we celebrate the failure of the earth to adequately synchronize its rotation and revolution cycles. Because if this, it takes us just a little more than a five hours more than exactly 365 days to get around the sun. This schedule sloppiness means that we have an extra day on the calendar every four years.
Cause for celebration, right? Think again. If you’re like me, you’re working today. And technically, since today would be a Wednesday whether it was February 29 or March 1, the extra day we have in 2012 is really the last day of the year—our December 31 this year would have been January 1 of next year, if it weren’t for the above-mentioned rotation/revolution snafu. And December 31, 2012? It’s a Monday. We get an extra Monday for our troubles this year.
But I do always look forward to Leap Years, for two reasons, which won’t surprise anyone who knows me: the Summer Olympics and the presidential election. Both quadrennial events are eminently fascinating, full of drama, and they’ll dominate the “News” and “Sports” sections of the newspaper. (OK, the Olympics become almost invisible outside of their three-week window, but oh, what a great three weeks that is.)
Both, of course, bring their share of angst. The Olympics have become commercialized almost beyond recognition, and network-television hype can be pukeworthy at times. But still, you know that over the course of that three weeks, you’re going to see some unforgettable moments of sheer beauty: a breathtaking 200m dash; an intense back-and-forth duel in a 1,500-meter run; a gritty nothing-held-back decathlon … and that’s just in the track and field events.
Likewise, there will be some dark days when the political negativity will be overwhelming between now and election day in November. Still, it’s fascinating, and there’s no denying that this stuff is important. Even though, at this point, it looks like this won’t be a particularly close election, you just know that the results will be at least somewhat in doubt until the polls close and the votes are counted.
So fasten your seatbelts; it may or may not be a great year, but we know it will be an interesting one.