It’s Leap Day, so I better get crackin’ on this stuff. You don’t often get a chance to write a blog post on Leap Day.

Don’t let that train pass you by, friend, or one day you’ll find yourself all alone in a cheap room, toothless, with pee stains on your underwear. Wishing you had written that Leap Day post.

But it will be too late.

And no one can bear that kind of sadness.

See, February 29 only comes around once every four–

Ladies! Gentlemen! Put away your revolvers! Just kidding!

Okay, Leap Day? Leap Year? Bor-ing! Leaping is okay, though.

I’ve done a lot of leaping in my time. I leap whenever I feel like it. Hardly a day goes by when I am not required to leap over Bob Johnson.

(Shot of snoozing Bob Johnson with title: Canis americanus.)

Bob Johnson has “suspended” his presidential campaign. He is content with being the President of the United States of Dogs (POTUSOD). I don’t blame him. The White House is okay, but I doubt they’d let Bob Johnson dig holes in the Rose Garden. And he would certainly want to do that.

Sure, I’m a little disappointed. I was counting on a cushy appointment with the Johnson administration. Secretary of Fun, maybe. But a dog’s got to know his limitations, I reckon.

Those of you addicted to the meager drama of the news cycle should probably stop reading and go get a cup of coffee (or a well-deserved shot of tequila. If, indeed, you are addicted to the news cycle, I would forego the shot glass. You should be chugging cactus juice straight from the bottle).

No, really, stop. Because I’m about to drop a huge spoiler here.

Barack Obama will be reelected in November.

I do not base this conclusion on partisan feelings of any sort. This is the stare of the cold Machiavellian eye.

Nothing short of a zombie apocalypse will derail a second Obama term. (I realize that many Americans would prefer a zombie apocalypse over four more years of President Obama, but this is neither here nor there. I would prefer to be Secretary of Fun, but it ain’t gonna happen.)

It’s a lock, as the Vegas boys say.

I’m sure I just ruined 2012 for a lot of folks: “Thanks for nothing, John Hicks!”

Hate if you must. But I told you to stop reading. You were warned.

Let’s talk about hate. Are you a hater? Am I?

I mean, we’re all pretty comfortable throwing the word around. But I suspect most of us are using it incorrectly.

“Hate” connotes the bearing of malice, of active ill will. (I know this because I looked it up in the Joe Montana Dictionary, so don’t give me any guff. The Joe Montana Dictionary is infallible.)

Most of the time when we say we hate something, we are merely indicating dislike. “I hate spinach” is generally understood to mean “I do not like the taste of spinach.”

A true hater of spinach would want to see spinach wiped off the face of the earth. If you ever met a person like this, you would start looking for an exit, if not a baseball bat.

I am given to extreme dislikes. It’s part of being a snob, and I don’t lose any sleep over it. Humans are vain, pretentious, silly mammals, and there’s not much we can do about that.

But bona-fide haters are rare, I think. Sustained hatred requires supertankers of fuel. The average person simply doesn’t possess the barrel capacity. We are too exhausted or distracted or happy (wonders never cease) to hate.

Most professional haters are frauds. Even the ones who are good at the job usually turn out to be show-biz hacks, not haters but lovers of fame, money and power.

Active ill will is always an attention-getter. Highly motivated haters are freaks, and who doesn’t like a freak show?

In the terminal, attention-starved stage of his or her career, a hater will begin to shrink. This shrinking continues until the carcass – once so formidable – is easily swept away.

If you think the line between love and hate is a thin one, it might be time to get out your Joe Montana Dictionary.

That line is as wide as the universe.

____________________________

John Hicks wears a powdered wig when he writes. Now you know.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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