So, I was watching Star Trek The Next Generation the other day. Student Wesley Crusher came home to the Enterprise D on a break from Starfleet Academy.
He and the android, Data are discussing the social life of the academy. Data asks if they still hold the Sadie Hawkins dance. Wesley answers that yes, it’s still a tradition.
A couple of things here.
Sadie Hawkins dance or day is inspired by a Lil’ Abner comic strip story about the father of the ugliest girl in Dogpatch trying to find a husband for her, so he organizes a race in which Sadie chases a pack of bachelors and gets to marry whomever she catches. The term evolved into events where a woman was allowed to ask a man for a dance, a date, or on Leap Day especially, his hand in marriage.
How very thoughtful, allowing women an isolated opportunity to have a say in her own destiny. But as someone old enough to have participated in Sadie Hawkins dances, the whole thing was seen as a joke; where menfolk pretended to let silly females have the power for something as low stakes as a school dance.
And the Star Trek thing? This episode took place around 2368. I’m sure, Gentle Reader, you can guess my thoughts about that.
But this anachronistic social convention brings me to my point and proposal (not of the marriage sort).
Leap Day, the February 29th that falls only once every four years, has long been considered an “extra”. A day that falls outside normality.
My proposal is to lean into the “otherness” that is Leap Day. So, on February 29th, nothing counts.
When I told The Kid about my big idea, it gave my child pause. Right away, what came to mind was The Purge, the movie where one day a year, everything is legal. Rob a bank, steal a car, kill your annoying neighbor and burn down their house? Yes, yes, and that’s kinda dark, but yes.
That is absolutely NOT what I am suggesting. Think of this as more of a “Purge Light®”.
The most serious laws my scenario would allow breaking are sixteen items in the express lane, taking the last doughnut without asking, and a little light jaywalking.
But the gist is that the folly of humans is not counted against them.
Calories? Not on Leap Day. Put away the healthy, no-fun food.
Have yourself some cotton candy and gin for breakfast. Eat a stick of butter like a particularly buttery Snickers bar. Polish off an entire jar of Goober Grape. Eat a bucket of potato salad. Have frosting for lunch! Drink Hollandaise sauce out of a mug. Eat your weight in caramel-cloaked toasted marshmallow frozen yogurt for dinner.
It doesn’t matter, because on this day, this magical day, no matter what goes into your mouth, every fork-full transforms into whole grains, veggies, and legumes.
Go shopping. There are no price tags or credit limits on this day. Buy all the shoes. Go to a bookstore and purchase every book and magazine that catch your eye. Start a cashmere collection. You want diamond earbobs? Buy yourself some darned diamond earbobs. Buy so many new clothes that you have to have them delivered on a flatbed.
But be sure you get this wonderful Bacchanal of misbehavior completely finished by midnight. Because come March 1, your actions once again have consequences.
But on this day, this special day that only comes every 1460 days, live your life like a giant drunken toddler who’s been given the car keys and a fake ID.
What do you think?
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.