For an event that happens only once every four years (well, almost), leap day doesn’t get much attention. At best “leaplings” — those born on February 29 — might get a birthday discount at the local bar (thanks, this one falls on a Monday). But what about those of us unlucky enough to be born on one of the other 365 days of the year?
To find out how to make this leap day more than just another Monday, we turned to the archives to discover how people celebrated leap days past. And we found this bit of inspiration from humorist Parke Cummings, who laid out his grand plans for leap day in 1952:
I’ll Be Busy
by Parke Cummings
February 16, 1952
This is Leap Year, which means that in February we get an extra day gratis. Instead of wasting it by doing the usual mundane things like worrying about bills, snarling at the children and breaking pencils, I intend to take advantage of this extra twenty-four hours by accomplishing things I’ve never got around to.
First of all, I intend to find out how cricket is scored. Every once in a while I find myself baffled by a dispatch reporting that Lancashire, trailing by 471 runs, scored 311 in its last innings and thereby achieved a tie. This may be a type of arithmetic with which I’m unfamiliar, and I intend to get to the bottom of it even if it entails an overseas phone call to some British sports expert.
Next I’m going to memorize the license number of my car. Some people succeed in doing this, but I never have. If I leave it in a parking lot and the attendant asks me for the number, I always have to reply, “It’s the one with the big dent in the left rear fender.” The dent is going to be fixed tomorrow, so that won’t do any more. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to memorize this perfectly, but perhaps a jingle will expedite matters. The number is — wait till I look now — ah, yes. For at least an hour on the twenty-ninth I’m going to recite: “Let’s put this down and keep it straight: The number’s CK-428.”