At the beginning of February, I told my students that I didn't like February because it was such a long month. February in Snowstorm Region, I explained, is about 94 days long. And all throughout the month of February, as my students straggled into class each morning, stamping snow off their boots, pulling wet mittens off, and apologizing for being late because the driving was so awful, I've kept saying, "See? Wasn't I right? Can you believe it's STILL February?"
My theory about February drove some of my literal, science-minded students crazy, but for the most part they've agreed with me. Then today, as we were talking the way we usually do before it's time to begin class, I announced that it was no longer February.
Chemistry Student Who Plans to Write a Science Fiction Novel Some Day looked at me in disbelief. "What? Of course it's still February."
I explained what a friend had suggested to me the day before. The month of February ends on the 28th, and leap day doesn't count because it's an extra day.
And I told them the new plan for leap day, the one that will be put into place when I become dictator of the world. Leap Day won't be on the calendar at all. That way, no one will schedule classes or appointments or anything at all. It'll be like that extra hour we get every fall. No one really thinks about it at all until it's Saturday night, and then someone remembers, "Oh, we get that extra hour! It's the night we turn the clocks back!" And then everyone changes their watches, and we get an extra hour.
I think that's what we deserve every four years. An extra day, a whole free day with nothing scheduled. It won't be on the calendar, it won't be a Friday or a Monday or any day of the week: it will just exist. Twenty-four extra hours!
Just the thought of having a whole day free to do nothing seemed to cheer my students up. They started talking about what they'd do with the time. Besides sleep, of course. They were all chatting happily as we started pulling out our books to begin class. And I could tell from the energy in the room that February was over.