“The Leap-Day Baby’s Paradox” at The Atlantic online.



I have thoughts and feelings on having a leap year day birthday.

Leapsters keep two sets of ages, annual and quadrennial. We mark time between real birthdays in fourths and halves. Leap-year days serve a purpose, as we know: The extra day tacked onto the end of February every four years accounts for Earth’s spinning around the sun five hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds longer than 365 days. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar noticed the calendar had fallen behind 90 days and tried to correct the difference, and added days here and there to months on the calendar for one year, adding a leap day every four years thereafter. This still needed tweaking: By 1582, with 11 minutes a year left unadjusted, the calendar had shifted 10 days. The Gregorian reform of the Julian calendar introduced an extra day to make up the difference, with leap years of centuries divisible by four skipped.

Whatever. The bottom line is, I turn 12 this year, and I have Pope Gregory XIII and my mother to thank for it.

Read the rest over at The Atlantic here.