My name is Leep, and I was born on Leap Day, and yes, Leep is my real name.
I guess my parents thought they were being hilarious or something. I don’t know—I’m just glad I wasn’t born on April 1st.
Anyway, you probably know one or two people with Leap Day birthdays, and they’re just like you except their actual birthday only comes around once every four years, so they just celebrate on February 28th or March 1st all the other years and it’s no big deal.
But here’s the thing: No one knows why, but I literally only have a birthday every four years; I’ve physically only aged a year for every four I’ve been around. What I’m trying to say is, I should be forty-four years old this year, and mentally and emotionally, I am. But physically? I’m eleven.
And, look—I’m not bragging. Yeah, if you do the math, it means I could easily live to be three hundred-something, but believe me, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve been pulled over by the cops more times than I can count, and when they do so, they love to take their good old time double-, triple-, and quadruple-checking my license because they’re so convinced it’s a fake. I could never play sports; when my friends were in Little League, I still had a toddler’s body, and they won’t let a guy in his forties play T-ball, even someone who looks like me (which, don’t get me wrong, is fine—I realize that’d be creepy). I’ve pretty much given up on trying to order a drink in public; I’ve accepted that trying to go to see an R-rated movie in the theater is more trouble than it’s worth for the foreseeable future.
And don’t even get me started on relationships. I’ve never had one, seeing as how any adult woman would be weirded out dating someone who looks like her son, nephew, or grandson. In fact, you didn’t hear this from me, but a year or so ago I got…desperate, shall we say, and hired an escort. Which, in hindsight, was an epically bad idea. (But I’ll never forget the look on her face when she showed up at my place and thought she’d just been hired by a ten-year old—PRICELESS…although it was less funny at the time).
Anyway, my point is this: If you’re ever out and about and an eleven-year old approaches you and asks if you got a light, before you freak out or take him by the ear and start looking for his parents, ask him his name. Because it might be me, and after yet another day of fighting an uphill battle to convince everyone I meet how old I am, I might just really need that smoke.