I love leap years. Every four years we get an extra day in February. Isn't that wonderful? No one can give us twenty-five hours in a day, but we can get one extra day every four years to help us catch up on some of that stuff we've never been able to finish. Like the linen closet I'm building in our master bath. Really. You wouldn't know to look at it, but I'm building one there. Unfortunately, our extra day this year was taken up with other stuff - probably left over from the previous leap year - so I'll have to wait now until 2008. Sorry, Gorgeous!
Of course, there is a down side to leap year. I'm speaking, of course, about Protest Fever. Protest Fever, like El Niño, hits this country more or less every two years. Leap year Protest Fever is worse, of course, because it coincides with some election or other... wait, it'll come to me... Well, anyway, it hits every four years.
The most noticeable symptom of PF is a marked increase in hormone levels among nominally adult individuals who develop a sudden urge to go out and protest something. Researchers are frankly puzzled by this behavior because there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the protestors' actions. The lack of reason for a protest, it seems, is inversely proportionate to the vehemence of the protest. If, for example, you walk up to a protestor whose primary argument seems to be that President Bush should be exiled to the Falkland Islands and ask why, the protestor will likely suggest that you perform some extremely inefficient maneuver on your own person. A loud voice and accompanying hand gestures will punctuate this suggestion. This person has PF.
The media, I'm afraid, is of little assistance in helping us understand the fever. Take any given protest you've seen in the news lately and notice who the journalists interview. They always find the organizer of the protest. Of the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of protestors present, the silly journalists always interview the only person who has given any real thought as to a reason for the protest. The rest are there because they have PF. They don't really care what the protest is about. They know their careers are in jeopardy. They just want an excuse to leave work for the day, hang with other PF victims, and make rude noises in public, all the while hoping against hope that the camera will focus on them so they can continue making hand gestures or waving to Mom.
The irony, of course, is that no one pays any attention to the protestors. No one that cares, anyway. Rational people who live anywhere near the protest will stay home, or, better yet, leave town until the protestors go away. Irrational people, it has already been shown, become protestors. "What am I protesting?" they ask. "You hate President Bush and think he should be replaced by a free-associating lunatic" is the response. "Cool! Count me in!"
Unfortunately, polite society must wait until November for the PF to run its course. The protestors, I guess, just run from protest to protest until then. What they do until PF strikes in another two or four years is still a mystery. Hibernate, probably.
Do me a favor, though. If you see an ex-protestor any time soon, send him my way. I have a bathroom project I need some help with. I'll tell him it's a protest.
"What am I protesting again?"
"You hate Bush and are building this linen closet as a show of solidarity."