February 29, 2008


Leapin' Lizards but Liz's character sure started something. Back when Julius Caesar was courting Cleopatra, he discovered that the Egyptian calendar had an extra day in it every four years, in order to bring it into alignment with the sun and moon. Julius wasn't too good at choosing friends (the back stabbers) but when he saw a good idea or apparently, a good looking woman, he wasn't afraid to steal them. Thus starteth the extra day in February, in any year divisible by 4.

Cleo, or was that Elizabeth Taylor, was no slouch at seizing upon an opportunity either (didn't she ask 9 or 10 men to marry her?). Mixing up my history a bit (it's more convenient this way), we learn that, in England, February 29 was ignored and had no legal status and therefore they assumed that longstanding traditions had no status either, on that day. Ergo, ipso facto ( ? ), women decided that this would be the one day in which they could ask a man to marry them. Actually, the Irish, always a little ahead in those days, decided back in the fifth century when St. Bridget complained to St Patrick about the reluctance of men to ask certain women to marry them, that February 29 would allow them the opportunity to reverse roles. It took the Scottish a little longer to figure out a way to profit from this practice, but in 1288 they passed a law allowing any woman to propose marriage to a man on Feb. 29 and if the man declined, he would have to pay a fine.

Leaping forward to the 1930's, we find that a very popular comic strip named L'il Abner created a special day called Sadie Hawkins Day in November, but was often celebrated with dances and parties on February 29, thus giving the high school dateless a chance to co mingle as a result of a girl asking any boy in the vicinity to the school dance on that day. I don't know if there is a moral to this story, or even if there is a story to this moral, but gentlemen be very careful out there today. And, if you see Liz walking your way, try not to make eye contact.

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