“I need to report a theft.”
And so the drama begins, as I spill out the confused and unbelievable story of the intentional and dastardly act of the pilferage of a beloved item in my life: a day. The woman at the 911 office is appropriately bewildered , struggling to contain her amusement and sufficiently grounded in her employment so as to not blow off my call completely. But really, someone has stolen this guy’s day?
“Please hold, sir. I’ll be right back to you.”
Well, it may not matter to someone else, but I’m serious about wanting to alert the authorities that some evil person has filched the first of March and replaced it with some ambiguous, formless and totally fabricated thing called “February 29th.” There is no such thing; this is the month of February, and there are specifically 28 days in this month.
I know it’s a little weird. Just 28 days. But who ever said that all months had to be the same? After all, some have 30 days and some 31. Why can’t there be a month with 28? It is, by the way, the design that was created in 1582 by Pope Gregory. And it’s been good enough for all those years with a slightly mis-shaped, often ridiculed, and openly scorned 28 day length. The so-called “historians” claim that Gregory said it was true. I can’t believe that anyone who put all that time into working out such a great formula would have screwed up enough to have to find a “fill-in” day every 4 years.
It’s just plain prejudice and discriminatory behavior to treat February so disgracefully by fooling around with its configuration. Just because it’s smaller and less able to defend itself. Patronizing it by sticking an additional day on every few years like a yellow sticky note doesn’t really make it right. In fact, it’s embarrassing and humiliating. I’ll bet there’s a law against it someplace.
The natural thing is to do the counting out loud.
But then, every now and then, you hear it. That grating, metal-on-metal, fingernails on the chalkboard sound.
Some wise-ass news anchor starts the day by shouting it out and declaring it to be a wonderful, scientifically proven, historically significant invention to be revered. After all, according to the anchor, it only makes sense to allow the Earth to catch up for some stupid genetic mistake in which seconds, minutes, and then hours are accumulated and in need of being “presented” like some made-up, overly-dressed, upwardly-mobile daughter of the rich family on the other side of town. They get all the press. She needs to be “presented” so she can get “caught.” So why not “present” a made-up, dressed-up, upwardly-moving period of 24 hours? You can call it whatever you want. It’s just a fake day in the midst of a very serious and otherwise-complex calendar. “How stupid can you get: Leap Day?”
“Sir, I have conferred with my supervisor, and it seems that there’s no protocol for dealing with a missing day. You’ll have to register your concern elsewhere. Have you thought about calling that nice lady on Channel 12 who helps people who have a problem? Maybe she can help you figure out where your day has gone. Thank you for calling 911. Don’t hesitate to call us when you have an emergency.”
Photo Credit: Amberley Village