Posted by: deadmousediaries | February 26, 2016

A Leap Year Bonanza! Harry Potter, Your Floor Mats and Six Million Trees


“Enter Today! Earn an Extra 1,440 Instantly! You’re a Guaranteed Winner!” That was my original thought about the title for this post but that would have been misleading. You can’t really enter today; you must enter on February 29th to secure your winnings. It’s Leap Year and you must be present to win. 

Despite your amazing good fortune when you win, you’ll probably play it cool and go to work, right? On one level it works like this: if you’re pulling an eight-hour shift at a minimum wage job in Pennsylvania where rates match the federal minimum, you’ll gross an extra $58 thanks to February 29th. Head west or north and do the same job in California or Massachusetts, the minimum wage exceeds federal standards. At $10 an hour there, your pay jumps another $80 that you’ll have to report on your 2016 tax return. 

But money isn’t the issue. No matter who you are, what’s in your bank account or on your pay stub, you will win an extra 1,440 minutes on February 29th. Time is the great equalizer. On any day that you start and finish, you get the same number of tick-tocks as the neurosurgeon and the pizza guy. The question is what can and will you do with them?

To put some perspective on the potential of what can be done when you maximize the minutes, Paul McCartney took only one day to write the music for the Beatles hit Yesterday. Keith Richards wrote the riff for (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in about 45 minutes and it became the first international #1 hit for the Rolling Stones. Adele drafted Skyfall, the theme track for the 2012 James Bond movie, in just 10 minutes and earned a Grammy, an Emmy and a Golden Globe for doing it. Pennsylvania homegirl Taylor Swift reported that she spent 25 minutes writing Never Ever Getting Back Together after talking with a friend about a bad break-up. The result? Her first Billboard chart topper. 

But what if you don’t want to do what you always do only faster when your 1,440 bonus rolls around? You could veg and binge-watch all your favorite shows. At 46 minutes per show, Grey’s Anatomy could deliver 31 full episodes as you count the characters who die or otherwise disappear. Or, if you prefer retro TV, you could nearly double your viewing pleasure by tuning in to 58 episodes of I Love Lucy and then tracking all the scenes that include smoking. Ever wondered about that? Smoking was required and the name Phillip Morris was worked into the script whenever possible because the cigarette company was the only sponsor producers could secure to help launch the show.

More of a movie buff than TV fan? You could watch all 11 segments of the Harry Potter series in 19 hours and 39 minutes. If you need a little snack time and a few more potty breaks in your day, go for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series instead. At six segments, you can watch all those in 17 hours and 12 minutes. You could also save nearly half of your free minutes for something else if you’d choose to watch the Rocky movies. You can plow your way through all seven of them in only 12 hours and 45 minutes– and that includes the 2015 release of Creed.

Maybe you’re like me and still prefer a great story direct from its source, the book. The average person reads at about 300 words per minute so if your butt, bi-focals and bladder can take it, you could tackle Gone with the Wind. At 418, 053 words, it might take you 23-plus hours to do it but hey! You have an extra full day this year! Rather conjure up your own images of Harry Potter soaring in Quidditch than have someone else envision it for you? Pick up the book but choose your favorite volumes wisely. The entire series is 1,084,170 words and will break your Leap Year budget, which probably explains why people who devour good books are often disappointed with the movies..

Enter Today! Win 1440 Instantly!You could spend some minutes moving your floor mats and flipping sofa cushions to search for spare change. Find a penny to start and then make it your intention to double that amount every hour for 24. Find one penny at midnight, two at 1:00 a.m., four cents at 2:00 a.m., etc. At the end of the day, you would have an impressive pile of jingle that totals $83,886.08. (And if you can make that happen, let me know. I’d like to visit and sit on your magic couch.)

Sadly, an extra day in 2016 also means that here in the U.S. we will toss an additional 105,000,000 plastic water bottles into landfills; only 23% of what we empty gets recycled. We will also each use an extra 80 to 100 gallons of water, most of which will go down the drain. By comparison, each person in the world’s 40 most water-starved countries lives on just two gallons of water a day for every use.

So. What if we use our powers for good? Imagine if we all worked together to pool our resources for just one day? The tiny country of Macedonia in the Balkans has done just that – and more than once. It started on November 19, 2011, when people from that population of just two million planted six million trees in a single day. There are six times as many Pennsylvanians as Macedonians. That’s a lot of saplings.

“There is no present like the time,” comes a line from the movie Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. However you view the extra minutes that Leap Year brings this month, an imaginary bonus or a real one, we will all get the same present.  All we need to do is wake up, breathe, repeat. Every day’s a good day to think about that and consider what to do with a gift of 1,440.   MK


  1. Hey Y…..good read, and thanks, didn’t even think that far ahead to the 29th to contemplate what that day means in the way of extra hours….WOW….I’ll certainly try to use them wisely. Hope you are well. Good to see your blog this morning. Let us know when you have some time to get together. Miss you.

    • Thanks, Cheryl! It’s scary how fast the days fly by. I’ll make sure we get reconnected soon. Thanks for making the time for your note.

  2. I love how you’ve given me some food for thought as I anticipate the extra day of the year…………interesting. And, I do love reading your posts……no matter how frequently (or infrequently) they appear in my mail. They brighten my day!!!!

    • Ah, thank you, Karin! I can always count on you to send a note and brighten MY day!!

  3. Your word pictures always brighten my day and challenge my thinking! I look forward to seeing your name in my inbox!

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