Weird Wednesday Feb. 28: The Truth About Leap Years

Leon Stevens
3 min readFeb 28, 2024


The Truth About Leap Years

It is a little known fact that that in the year 1438, Johannes Gutenberg realized his calendar business was beginning to falter.

Because every month had 30 days, customers had figured out that if they didn’t write their appointments on them, that they could use them year after year, thereby saving themselves $1.25, the equivalent of $1.25 in today’s dollars.

Johannes was furious, so he decided that each month should feature-wait for it-a picture of a cute kitten. Thinking that people would get tired of looking a the same cute kitten every year, they would choose to purchase a new calendar.

Now, as visionary as he was, Gutenberg underestimated the cuteness of these kittens, and as many other idea as he had (dogs, horses, all-inclusive resorts), no one was willing to give up the original.

“Wait!” Gutenberg said to himself. “I have an idea!”

“Is it kittens?” his wife asked?

Well, it was back to the drawing board. What if I take a day away from January, then all the other months will change every year, forcing people to purchase new ones year after year.

When he told the Pope his idea, Mr. Pope laughed and told him that it was a half-assed idea. Now, Johannes, wanting to be fully-assed, then decided that some months would have more days than others and on month (chosen randomly) would have even less.

After many years of this new calendar, chaos ensued. Farmers, who relied on the moon to tell them when to plant their crops, were now planting in the summer-which was now spring-demanded a better solution.

“How about I add a day every 3-wait, no 4 years to…umm, February? That will solve everything,” Johannes said.

Everybody discussed this proposal and agreed, on one condition:

“Will you still put cute kittens on them?”

And the rest is history. True story.


Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

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Originally published at on February 28, 2024.



Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education.