Dear Crabby, What’s Up with all this ‘Leaping?’

Dear Crabby,

I was looking at my calendar the other day and I noticed this year February has 29 days. Wasn’t there a leap second or something like that last year? And honestly, why do bother with all this leap stuff anyway?

Tina Tiempo

Dear Ms. Tiempo,

DearCrabbyYah. Talk about jumping through hoops, eh? You are right. Last year I wrote about the Leap Second and how all our gadgets needed it so the human race can go on Googling and watching stupid cat videos. ‘Cuz heaven help us if someone couldn’t post a selfie to one of their social media accounts. So now we’re dealing with a Leap Year. I always felt sorry for the people who were born on February 29. There was a kid in my class who was unfortunate enough to have this birthdate. All throughout elementary when other kids were bringing in birthday treats or having “Happy Birthday” sung off-key by fellow classmates, he looked miserable. Because how is a kid supposed to make other kids understand that he really has a birthday that the calendar only sometimes acknowledges? So in an effort to make Billy Joe (yes, that was his real name) feel like less of an outcast, our teacher gave us all a Leap Year lesson, which I will now pass on to you. Here’s what I remember: It all comes down time. Most of us think of a year as the time it takes the Earth to do a lap around the sun, or 365 days. But as Mrs. Magillicutty (yes, that was her real name) explained using construction paper cutouts the ‘solar’ year period is typically measured from Spring Equinox to Spring Equinox, which equals 365 calendar days. But here’s the kicker: there are an estimated five to six hours of extra time because a ‘day’ is actually 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds. So it takes over 365 days for the Earth to orbit the sun, but our silly calendars only have room for that specific amount. And if we didn’t do any sort of adjustment, our seasons would be out of whack (which I don’t think matters much in Michigan), so every four years all the extra time is added together to give us February 29.

Come to think of it, if my math is correct, I don’t feel too bad for Billy Joe. If he only counts the years there was an actual February 29, he’s in his twenties and that sounds good to me!

Hope this answer helps and feel free to educate others.
Thanks, Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Go to and ask your question.

You can also head on over to my Facebook page and tell me how wonderful I am.

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

Speak Your Mind