In 2016, after a month and a half of extremely serious writing about race in America. I decided to celebrate with a bit of total nonsense. It didn’t work out the way I had anticipated. For a longer version of that story, look at today’s AWL post.
This is the story of Leap Alan Hed and his unintended write-in bid for the presidency. Think of this as a presidential campaign in an alternate universe.
Once upon a time – 1952, I think it was — there was a kid who was born on Leap Day.
His Dad was named Alan Hed, and he wanted to give his son the same name, but his wife had a quirky sense of humor. She told the nurse to call the boy Leap, as in Leap Alan Hed. When he was really young, his dad called him Alan and his mother called him Leap, but when he got old enough for school, his kindergarten teacher — who was a mean bastard, anyway — called him Leap A. Hed. That brought about a sudden parent conference and after that the dad got his way, and the boy tried to forget that his first name was Leap.
People wouldn’t let him forget, and finally he gave in and refused to answer to a Alan any more. He went further. He decided that if he was going to be the boy with all those nicknames:
Leap for Cover
. . . and of course, still, interminably, Leap Ahead . . .
. . . if he was going to have to put up with all those stupid names, he was going to go all the way. I refused to celebrate his birthday on the twenty-eighth of February or the first of March. He only celebrated it on February twenty-ninth.
Worse, he counted his age by birthdays. When he was sixteen, he started putting his age down as four. He spent a lot of time talking to the principal about that, but they finally got tired of the whole business. You might say he out-stubborned them.
He couldn’t out-stubborn the draft board. When they said he was eighteen and he said he was four, they didn’t buy it. He claimed discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. He might have made it all the way to the Supreme Court, but when the 1969 draft lottery was held, February twenty-ninth drew number 285, so the draft board dropped the case.
After that his life calmed down. He never married (he claimed he was too young) and the IRS was indulgent. They figured he would regret his claims when he wasn’t eligible for Social Security until he was 260 years old.
Unfortunately for Leap – or Leap Boy, as the media eventually called him – some joker heard about his claims and put him up for President in 2016. This is the story of that event. more tomorrow