What it's like having a birthday once every four years -- on Leap Year

Technically, Mike Fete is only 13 years old

CLEVELAND - If you thought having your birthday fall on or around a holiday was bad, try having one only once every four years.

Or you could say Leap Year babies are the luckiest people on the planet. They age slower than the rest of us, legally turn 21 the day before their "actual" birthday, and can pick which day to celebrate. Right?

Technically, Mike Fete is only 13 years old. That is, if you add up the birthdays he's been able to celebrate on Feb. 29, the day he was born in 1960.

During our phone interview, Fete joked about "turning 13" on the calendar day that rarely shows up to the party.

"If my voice sounds the least bit rough, please excuse me. I'm still going through puberty," he joked.

Fete, who is really 52 years old, is a radio marketing consultant at Rubber City Radio Group. He doesn't mind having a special birthday. He calls it "fate."

"The beauty is this. Because my actual birthday is the 29th, I've been able to work that to my advantage for many years," Fete laughingly explained. "Often times, I'll celebrate on Feb. 28 and then I'll turn around and say, 'you know what, my birthday is actually March 1.' So, I try to double-dip as much as I can!"

The father of two teens and a 20-year-old will be celebrating his Leap Year birth by eating ice cream cake, washing it down with Starbucks coffee and then popping in some home movies.

"I'm going to try to defy the fact that I'm 52 by watching movies from decades back when my teens were actually toddlers."

Choosing from 13 actual birthdays, Fete recounted his favorite celebration on Feb. 29.

"It would be my 16th," he said. "I was old enough to pursue my drivers license, and at the same time I was really only 4 years old."

Only one person in every 1,500 has a birthday that falls on Feb. 29.

"I've had a number of people say to me, 'You're the first person I've ever met who has a Leap Year birthday!'"

Truth be told, Fete doesn't really double-dip for his birthday -- all the time. He's used to celebrating it on Feb. 28.

All joking aside, Fete said, "No matter when your birthday falls and how old you might be, live every day like it's your last."

Happy birthday, Mike! And all you other Leap Year babies!

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