One East Texan celebrates 7th Leap Year birthday

Dr. Norman Markworth, SFA Professor of Astronomy
Dr. Norman Markworth, SFA Professor of Astronomy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - You can't tell by looking at him, but Micah Shaffer is among the few who celebrates his birthday every four years. This leap year he will be turning 7.

"It doesn't really bother me, I guess you know 28 years or 7, however you want to say it," said Micah Shaffer, Benefits Coordinator for Lufkin Memorial Hospital.

Micah says growing up he didn't have any other relatives with the same birthday, but that didn't stop them from giving him a hard time about his.

"Growing up, some people like to pick and make fun...You just kind of have to have a good sense of humor," said Micah.

He says some relatives wouldn't give him a birthday present until his actual birthday, every 1, 641 days.

"It's kinda exciting to actually have your birthday, your day of celebration," said Micah.

He says he often gets teased for 'technically' being younger than all but one of his nieces and nephews, but says he feels more like a child than an adult anyway.

He supports that with his experience as the praise and worship leader of children's ministry at Harmony Hill Baptist Church.

At times, his uncommon birthday has its perks.

"When I was younger, I was in a grocery store in Houston and the general manager on February 29th said, 'If there is anybody who has a birthday on this day, we'll give you $200 worth of free groceries'. I just happened to be in the store and have my driver's license and showed him I was born on February 29th, and I got about $200 worth of free groceries," said Micah.

Micah admits he didn't really know the history of Leap Year growing up.

And SFA astronomy professor Doctor Norman Markworth concurs: he understands the confusion that people feel about the evolution of Leap Year.

"Most civilizations were on a Lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon. And the year was about 355 days long. But, everybody, even in grade school knows that's not the length of the year. So, what they would do would be to add days here and there, every now and again, to try to get the calendar to catch up with the seasons. And sometimes, they'd add whole months, and these can be known as the Years of Confusion," said Dr. Markworth.

The problem was solved when Julius Caesar instituted a calendar that added a Leap Day every four years.
This year, Micah says he will be celebrating with a kid-themed birthday bash, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Mario.

Doctor Markworth predicts that 1 in every 12-hundred births in the U.S. happen on Leap Day.

Don't forget you can watch part two of this special report tomorrow night at ten, when we'll introduce you to one East Texan celebrating her 8th Leap Year birthday.

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