Today is February 29th. As you Gregorian calendar buffs know this is Leap Day and occurs only once every four years during a Leap Year. So this year February gets a bonus day! However, for people actually born on Leap Day, things can get weird fast. Take the story of Fred Shekoufeh. Today he is turning “15” while his son Eric is turning “5.”
From this photo you might discern that they do not in fact look 15 and 5. That’s because Shekoufeh was born on Leap Year- and so was his son! They have really spent 60 and 20 years on the Earth. While it is odd to share a birthday with your father, the chances of sharing a Leap Year birthday with your dad are estimated to be 1 in 2.1 million.
Normally if a parent was born on Leap Year, the child would “grow older” than him in a weird Benjamin Button situation. I know this because I born on Leap Year too. When my kid turns 12-years-old, I will only be 11. Weird. Yet Fred and Eric both say they enjoy being born on Leap Year. Eric points out the lame jokes that everyone born on Leap Year must endure:
“Everyone and their mother made a joke about me turning four, and that four-year-olds shouldn’t be able to drive cars. Well, evidently I could,” he said. “I was glad to have an actual birthday on such on emphatic year: getting a license. No confusion at the DMV. I hope I can say the same when I’m going out for my 21st.”
Eric is right in worrying that the guy at the bar might not let him drink. I can attest that the only real problem being born on Leap Year has ever caused me is when being confronted by a meathead bouncer. I was around 21 and ID’d at a bar in my hometown when the guy confiscated my real driver’s license and started to attempt to break it in half. He was sure that it was a fake and I was the idiot for using a fake license that didn’t even have a real date on it. Luckily someone stepped in to correct him and he gave me back my bent license.
Youngest graduate ever?
It takes our planet 365 and 1/4th days to revolve around the sun. To make up for that ¼ day, we get a Leap Day every four years in order to keep balance with The Force and the Space Time Continuum or something. Fred Shekoufeh says he wasn’t aware that his birthdate was special until he immigrated to the United States in 1979 and an immigration official mentioned it. Luckily for him it wasn’t the same guy that worked at that bar I went to.
Also there is great debate within the Leap Year community as to if you should celebrate on the 28th or the 1st. Some “leaplings” like to keep it in February as that is the month they were born. However, during non-Leap Years I celebrate on March 1st. As a 1ster it only makes sense as I wasn’t yet born on the 28th.
Happy birthday to Fred and Eric and all the people who only get a real birthday every four years!
If you only had a birthday every four years, what would you do on it? Asking for a friend.
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney