Mark’s Note: This is an updated version of a post I originally did exactly four years ago today.
This week we have a special day that affects the entire civilized world, and yet we don’t treat it as if it’s at all special.
I speak, of course, of National Pig Day, March 1.
But what I want to talk about is Leap Day. Here we have something that occurs only once every four years, yet we’re going to spend it as we would any other Monday: going to work and talking about who died on tonight’s The Walking Dead. (That’s not a spoiler; I always assume someone will die.) Tomorrow will be just an extra day for Donald Trump to tell us that Ted Cruz is a liar, and Ted Cruz to tell us how Christian he is, and John Kasich to wait around for everyone else to implode.*
Think about it. Why should employers get an extra day of work? Why should investment bankers get to make money for an extra day? Why do the Philadelphia Phillies get an extra day of spring training? It’s not as if it’s going to help.**
Leap Day is really like a calendar equivalent of Brigadoon, the village that magically appears periodically so that Scottish people can sing and dance. I’m not suggesting that we should all wear kilts today, and I’m definitely not saying that the day should be celebrated with extensive bagpipe playing; I’m only raising the possibility that perhaps we should do something out of the ordinary.
Like stop everything.
Look, February 29th should not exist, but it is a gift that has been given to humanity by…well, whoever made it up. So how is it appropriate to spend the 29th doing all the same sorts of things we did on the 26th?
February 29th isn’t a real day at all, so the world should not carry on its usual routine. Just stop the wars, the politics, the protests. No commerce, no work, no media, no school. Your money’s no good on February 29th, which is fine, because nobody’s trying to sell you anything. Let’s give the comical cat video web sites a day of rest, shall we? Let’s have a Facebook fast and a Twitter truce. For one friggin’ day, let no one mention the name “Kardashian.”
What would we do without all that? I’m not going to get all mushy and say we should spend the day talking to friends and loved ones; that’s what Yom Kippur is for. My suggestion is this: spend the day creating something.
It’s an extra day, for Pete’s sake–do something worthwhile. Invent something (or at least jot down a few ideas). Paint! Write! Sculpt! Take your musical instruments out onto the main street in your town and jam! Perform interpretive dance at the mall.
Will any of this happen? Yeah, when pigs fly.
Which brings me back to March 1st.
See you soon.
*Four years ago, this sentence read: “It’s just an extra day to listen to Rick Santorum tell us how Christian he is, and Mitt Romney tell us how rich he is, and Newt Gingrich tell us how whatever he is he is.” Why is somebody always telling us how Christian he is?
**Four years ago, this sentence had the New York Mets instead of the Philadelphia Phillies. Which proves that things have improved during Obama’s second term.