Hump Day: Let’s all invent some brand new Leap Day traditions

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Today is Leap Day, Feb. 29, a day that comes only once every four years.

According to the online resource website Wikipedia, this specific date or the entire leap year come with a couple of strange traditions. For example, in the British Isles, tradition dictates that women may only propose marriage today, while if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on Leap Day in Finland, he must buy her fabric for a new skirt.

Not exactly, the guillotine, mind you, but if you see a bunch of Finnish-looking gentlemen wandering around Fabricville tonight looking at material while being led around the store at the wrong end of shotgun held by a very angry and heartbroken lady, you’ll know why.

Over at About.com, they state that not only is today the only day of the year when (at least by tradition) women can propose to a man, but the man is not allowed to refuse! (I know a few women I know who are already on a plane to find Brad Pitt). ‘The convention was (in literature, if not in reality) that any man who refused such a proposal owed his spurned suitor a silk gown and a kiss – provided she was wearing a red petticoat at the moment she popped the ques­tion.’ Pack your red petticoats for the plane ride, girls! I think Brad’s taken – and by someone who kind of scares me.

If Feb. 29 is your birthday, you’re called a ‘leaper’ or a ‘leapling,’ leading to the age-old dilemma of determining exactly how old you are if your actually birthday only comes around once every four years. Most people are 21 after 21 birthdays. Leapers are actually 84 in ‘non-leaper’ years by the time their 21st birthday rolls around.

I think Feb. 29 should have some better traditions that buying a lady material for a skirt if you turn down her proposal. I mean, c’mon.

We should be able to come up with something better than that in 2012.

Here are some traditions that I’d like to see come around every leap year on this date.

On Feb. 29, it should be legal to get out of the car and slap someone who does not properly use a merge lane. If they slam on their brakes instead of merging into traffic, you have the right to step out of your car, walk up to them, pull them out of their car and just give them a good ol’ slap, followed by, ‘Does that look like a stop sign? Do you see a stop sign? I don’t see a stop sign! Do you see a stop sign?’ By now, you’ve probably guessed that this is what I yell at cars that slam on their brakes in front of me when entering a merge lane. Ah, Moncton – also known as the city where merge lanes are mythical creatures that only exist in a magical document called the New Brunswick Driver’s Handbook. Ooooh! Aaaah!

On Feb. 29, it should be legal to force someone who orders food for an entire hockey team at a Tim Hortons drive-thru to eat every single bit of the food they ordered before being allowed to leave the premises. Sure, move that big ol’ van out of the way to let others get through the drive-thru, but if you want to order dozens of donuts, drinks and sandwiches for your team at a drive-thru on February 29, you must sit in the middle of the parking lot and eat everything while the jeering crowd yells insults that your team skates like a bunch of cross-eyed goats. Only then can you leave!

On Feb. 29, if there is a snow storm, snowplow drivers must shovel the end of every driveway they’ve filled back in should they do so after the owner of the house has already shovelled. Oh, and the driver must do so using a teaspoon while dressed as a gorilla.

On Feb. 29, children must obey their parents without whining or asking a million questions about why they need to do their homework, fold the laundry or stop picking on their little brother. Male children must bow to their parents immediately upon seeing them in the house, while female children must curtsy. (The RCMP has asked that the rest of this paragraph be deleted due to loud cheering from parents that is causing a disturbance so loud that dead people are waking up in the cemetery.)

On Feb. 29, cute little white dogs must not ask to go out to pee after 10 p.m. under pain of . . . oh heck, she knows I’ll take her out anyway.

On Feb. 29, candy shall have no calories and actually be good for you. (Another RCMP warning -this time about hyperactive little kids with black teeth and faces covered with frosting who have begun rioting and cheering in the streets – albeit while stopping to pick up their teeth that fall out along the way.)

On Feb. 29, medical websites are prohibited from hysterically suggesting that you may by dying after innocently searching for symptoms or conditions such as ‘stubbed toe’ ‘itchy elbow’ ‘paper cut on index finger’ ‘excessive ear wax’ or ‘sneezing more than three times in a row.’

On Feb. 29, drinking coffee after 9 p.m. actually helps you sleep.

On Feb. 29, any lottery tickets purchased are guaranteed winners. Unfortunately, this means you have to share your prize with millions of other people. Enjoy that nickel. Don’t spend it all in one place.

And finally, on Feb. 29, bank savings account interest rates double for this one day. Like I said, enjoy that nickel and don’t spend it all in one place.

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