Happy Birthday Rossini and Frederick

sleep year day

sleep year day?

Gioachino Rossini would be celebrating his 57th birthday today if he hadn’t died 152 years ago; and if you’re a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan you know about Frederick. Born in Leap Year on the 29th of February and indentured till his 21stbirthday, he found himself bound to be a pirate’s apprentice to the age of 84.

My local news reveals that seven such Leap Day babies were born today in Flint; no word on how many in Ann Arbor, but presumably as many as are born on February 28th or March 1st. Somehow it doesn’t strike us that way. We know about the Flint babies because someone

deerswerve 2

deer too drunk to leap?

considered it a photo op and made cute little Leap Day infant onesies for them, but I’ve already seen online comments suspecting a conspiracy. They haven’t said what kind yet, but they will. This is our human heritage: assemble two or three random facts, and draw wild conclusions. It’s harmless enough where birthdays are concerned, but then we apply it to everything from the political opinions of our erstwhile friends, to the spread of coronavirus. Could we please stop that?

The operetta ended happily; some of Rossini’s operas ended in tragedy, but some were happy, too. Let’s hope things work out well for the new crop of Leap Day babies.

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