This voucher entitles the bearer to
one (1) Leap Day on Feb. 29, 2012

The Leap Day should be treated as an extra day (1) and may be redeemed in multiple (but not myriad) ways:

—This voucher is an official 24-hour license to flout routine, skirt the norm, damn the torpedoes, raise a ruckus and generally carry on in an indulgent manner, and to call (2) your mother or an old friend you have missed. (3)

—An employee of an employer subject to U.S. tax laws may use this voucher as a valid receipt for truancy (4) on Feb. 29.

—By carrying this voucher on your person, you are fully vested with the ability to feel pleasantly whelmed (5) for a 24-hour period.

—A lady may surrender this voucher to any adult bachelor (6), who is then required to marry the voucher-holder or face a monetary penalty. (7)


1) An “extra day” is defined as an intercalary 24 hours within a bissextile year of 366 days, a phenomenon started in 46 B.C. by Julius Caesar, whose astronomers calculated that a solar year — the time it takes for Earth to orbit the sun — lasts 365.25 days. These astronomers were wrong by 0.008 of a day, and likely drunk. The discrepancy, which caused the seasons to regress, was corrected by the Gregorian calendar in 1582.

2) No texting. Voucher-holder must call.

3) No excuses. This is an extra day! Out of nowhere! Use it, man.

4) When filing your timecard, code Feb. 29 as “LEAP” and submit this voucher as a business expense worth $35.88[a]. If your administrator objects via e-mail, reply: “I feel sorry for you. Sincerely, A child of the cosmos.”

5) Not overwhelmed. Not underwhelmed. Whelmed.

6) Early last century, administrators of Aurora, Ill., handed control of the city to all the single ladies[b] every Feb. 29. The ladies would fine and jail every bachelor they could hunt down. The March 22, 1948, issue of Life magazine reported that on Feb. 29 of that year all the single ladies[c] collected $1,700 in bachelor fines.

7) In A.D. 1288, the Scots[d] passed a leap-year law to incentivize females to betroth males and to disincentivize males from refusing the betrothal: “It is statut and ordaint that during the rein of hir maist blissit Megeste, for ilk yeare knowne as lepe yeare, ilk mayden ladye of bothe highe and lowe estait shall hae liberte to bespeke ye man she likes, albeit he refuses to taik hir to be his lawful wyfe, he shall be mulcted in ye sum ane pundis or less, as his estait may be.”

8) This voucher may not be exchanged for any of the following: A massage from a homeless person, a side of guacamole from Chipotle, two (2) Cadillacs or bail.

a This is the exact cost of an entire year’s unrestricted subscription to the new Washington Post Politics app for the iPad. This minor cost has added value in a 366-day year; the subscription in a leap year costs approximately $0.0980 per day vs. approximately $0.0983 in a common year (an annual savings of approximately a bit of a smidge, which is nothing to sneeze at).

b All the single ladies.

c All the single ladies.

d The Scots were also likely drunk.

— Dan Zak