Mindanao Times

Leap-frogging past February


AS EVERYONE may know, this year, 2020 is a leap year, and that means we get an extra day this month, which is February the 29th (as though we could use an extra day). If one likes, try looking up the reason why we have this once every-four-years adjustment in Gregorian calendar that we use because I always get lost when attempting to grasp wiki’s explanatio­n of it. All I know is, I only have one friend who has his birthday on February 29, and we use to constantly kid him about, why not celebrate his birthday every four years only? That would technicall­y make him much younger than all of his fifty something.

Much like the World Cup of football and the summer Olympic Games, a leap year is, yes, in effect every four years, and coincident­ally, this year could as well be called Olympic leap year. (the World Cup is in 2022.) The playful implicatio­ns of this may be due to both falling on the same year and likewise due to what each particular event represents. February is fondly referred to as the “love” month because of Valentine’s Day and the summer Olympic games is the ultimate pinnacle of all things sports. Being such, one could translate it as, if one fails at love, at least be sporty about it and try again. Or as they say in tennis, love is just a game, or means nothing at all.

In other countries, like Ireland for example, leap year is the only time a woman can propose to anyone she chooses to marry. I have heard of this before from an old woman when I was younger, so perhaps, it might also be practiced here. However, machismo (which we inherited from Spanish conquistas, and also the bane of Latin countries), dictates that it be hushed, lest it lessens a man’s vertigo, er, ego. What is with all this macho *+x! anyway? In these modern times, anybody can propose, man or woman, and it is already being done without fanfare. It does not say that one has to say yes to every proposal though, but oh, in Ireland, there is actually a penalty if one refuses a lady’s proposal. So just don’t visit it this year, beautiful people.

Besides, if one were to observe what happens every Valentine’s Day, rarely do we see women giving flowers to their bae. It is the menfolk that one sees on the jeepneys and shopping malls looking all tidied up and droopy-eyed (and sometimes stupid), with bouquets and chocolate in hand, waiting for their mates, who in turn get the thrills and chills at all the special once-a-year attention. I have a little confession to make, all these special affectatio­ns of love that is done once-a-year feel like the most pretentiou­s thing to me. Why not just profess your “I-love-you”s on a daily basis, and save the money or change instead for more important things for you both? Stingy and penurious as I am, hugs and kisses are all I could afford anyway. Or it could be the age, that profound moment in one’s life when one sees clearly and there is no more room for mushy-mushy bovine waste matter when it comes to loving someone. And if by consensus, the majority still insist on celebratin­g Valentine’s Day, why not move it to February 29 then? That way, it is not so ordinary, comes in once every four years, and keeps the excitement growing, and everyone has four years to prepare their own versions of “special” while they await its return.


On a more serious note, for this 2020 version of leap year, I doubt there will be much kissing and holding of hands though. Greeting friends and families may even be relegated to a simple neighborly wave, if that global virus going around is still not put in check by Valentine’s Day. One thing is sure though, the media (as useless) is not at all entirely helpful when it comes to calming the people and alleviatin­g their fears. Instead, all one reads about are opinionate­d, rumor-based, scary and most important (for them), scoop-hungry types of reporting that leave us more frightened and confused more than ever. Social media on the other hand, is filled daily with memes and cracks that make light of the matter, which could subconscio­usly reveal either a need for affirmatio­n of disguise a form of whistling-in-the-dark kata stance.

Is all this part of a conspiracy perhaps? Some venture to ask. All else aside, the month of January 2020, had brought with it all the saddening and tragic news and events for us as a people, and that it had proven itself to be a looong month indeed. Let us just wish that February need not be so unforgivin­g.

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