George Read doesn’t have a birthday this year, so he celebrated turning nine and one-quarter yesterday.
He was born on Feb 29, 1972, making him a leap-year baby, thus his birthday only comes around once every four years. In the three years in between, he celebrates whenever he wants — this year his family had friends over for dinner on March 1.
“It’s great when you’re old, but it stinks when you’re a kid,” Read said, who has actually lived for 37 years.
“What do you mean, I don’t get a birthday?” he recalled thinking. “I did feel left out. Every leap year kid does.”
Read said he has missed out on plenty of free birthday meals at Denny’s or getting into the zoo for free.
It can also be frustrating when companies don’t have Feb. 29 in their system — most recently, Telus almost wouldn’t hook up his cellphone.
“I said, ‘can’t you just put in March 1 or Feb. 28 or something?’ Finally they figured it out. You do get a few things like that.”
Peter Brouwer, founder of the Honour Society of Leap Year Babies, said there are many other Feb. 29 birth date bugs on the Internet. “Many people don’t understand leap year — so why should the Internet?” he said.
The elusive birthday also provides insight into his friend’s math skills, Read said.
“You would be surprised how many people can’t multiply by four anymore,” he said. “It really does tap some people’s math skills. It’s pretty funny.”
The reason why we have an extra day every four years is because it takes about 365 days and six hours for the Earth to complete a revolution around the sun. Every four years an extra 24 hours have accumulated, so one day is added to the year.