Friday, February 24, 2012

The February forgotten


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH
Express Staff Writer

What do hip-hop artist Ja Rule, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, former TV show star and singer Dinah Shore, big band leader Jimmy Dorsey and pioneering film director William Wellman all have in common? They were all born on Feb. 29. That means they only celebrated their birthday once every four years.

Why do I think about this? It's probably because I don't have a full-time job anymore and thoughts like these would have been suppressed heretofore because of pressing responsibilities. But, never mind that. Let's get back to the thought.

As children growing up, Ja, Tony, Dinah, Jimmy, William and many others like them learned the hard way how they were different and what life had in store for them. When Feb. 28 would roll around, they would all exclaim, "Wow, tomorrow's my birthday!" Their parents would say, "Sorry, you lose. Tomorrow we go straight into March. No birthday for you!" Can you imagine the effect this had on these poor little kids—the forgotten?

They were never really sure just how old they were. By the time they achieved their 13th birthday they were 52 years old. They were carded at the bar until they were 84, which meant they could finally drink legally, but they were now physically unable to serve their country in the armed forces. Sure, they paid children's prices when they went to the movies until they were in their sixties, but they couldn't get a learner's permit to drive until they were 56.

Something has to be done for these leap-year babies. They should get more presents, more slices of cake and social security checks for their sweet 16 birthday celebrations.

I'd like to hear from everyone in the Wood River Valley that has a birthday on Feb. 29 and, upon proof, take him or her to lunch. It's about time we remembered the forgotten and this coming Wednesday finally start to recognize and honor them. It would be my pleasure to take them to lunch and enjoy their day with them. Besides, they would all be ordering off the children's menu.

Nice talking to you.




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