In a quirk of modern timekeeping, we'll have a leap second this year - details here if you are stuck at work today and you're desperately looking for something to read - which obviously begs the question, "What can you actually do with one second?"
In all honesty, I can't think of many things you can do with that extra second. I think it would be pretty fun if the Times Square countdown stutter-stepped just to mess with people.
Five, four, three, two, one, one?
Aside from a sneeze or snapping your fingers, what really takes a second? Oh, you can also pronounce the word, "Mississippi" which, as we all know, is the United States' official designation of one second for touch football pass rushing and hide and go seek laws. Do not mess with the powerful hide and go seek lobby - they will end you.
Judging by the Facebook turnout, most people are ready for 2008 to be done with and for a variety of reasons that they're pretty coy about. I'm in between, as 2008 has been a pretty fun year for me, all told.
On the other hand, 2009 is on track to be a big year for me personally.
It should hopefully be the year my first kid is born and likely the year my wife and I buy our first home. I'm hoping it isn't also the year that the Great Depression comes back for seconds, that the earth doesn't spin into the sun or that the White Sox win the World Series again, but that's all small potatoes in my little universe.
I guess that's the funny thing I'm noticing as I get older. As my world perspective grows exponentially and I get a firmer grasp on all sorts of strange and wonderful things that interest me from history to auto repair to the inner workings of a pitched baseball, the things that actually matter most to me are shrinking down in the scope of the world's perspective.
It's comforting, really. While I would have given pretty much anything for one of my teams to win a championship at age 9 or 10, I'd trade most anything for a healthy baby, for a few extra years with my wife or for a little more time with a friend of mine who is battling cancer.
It's funny that while your awareness of the world around you expands, your interest in that fades and you begin to focus on the people and places within your reach. I'd like to think that it's not really a loss of innocence or passion, just a redirection of focus and a shuffling of personal priorities.
When I was a tiny little guy, my Dad would take me to the zoos and museums in Chicago and at that age, I couldn't fathom anything more valuable than the Field Museum. Sweet fancy Moses, it had dinosaurs. Dinosaurs that you could see any time you pleased if you owned the place.
I asked my dad once if he would trade me for the Field Museum and he said no way. At the time, I thought he was nuts, but he's become more and more sane with each passing year. Besides, memberships there are surprisingly affordable today.
So, I guess if there's anything to be done with that extra second tonight, it's probably best that it's coming around this year for me. I can use that extra second for one quick deep breath as I prepare to plunge headlong into a huge year for me and my growing family.
When I think about it in those terms, it may be the longest second of my life.
(Image from: 3Planesoft.com)