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Leap Year 2021
I've lived in the present for my whole life and I'm not about to move now.
Title text: I've lived in the present for my whole life and I'm not about to move now.


Cueball, checking his phone, comments on how fast time goes, saying it is already March. (This comic was posted on March 1, 2021.) Black Hat overhears him and says that it's actually February 29.

February 29 exists in the Gregorian calendar and its predecessor, the Julian calendar, as a correction mechanism for the fact that one tropical year on Earth is not exactly 365 days long. It's closer to 365.2422, and to prevent the dates from precessing relative to the seasons, an extra day is added once every fourth year, also called a leap year. This is still not enough to completely match Earth's orbital period, and for that reason the Gregorian calendar changed the leap year rules to be as follows: Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. This makes the average year 365.2425 days long, which approximates the 365.2422 days in the tropical year.

Black Hat wants every year to have a February 29, for no clear reason. Cueball acknowledges that he could accomplish this, if he could convince enough people to go along with it. Calendar systems are all invented, and whatever date systems are commonly acknowledged become the "correct" date. Cueball initially considers the change minor, assuming that they would simply change March 1st to February 29th on non-leap years, which would merely rename a single day and skip "March 1st" by going directly from February 29th to March 2nd. Black Hat clarifies that he actually wants to add another day, and the day AFTER that will be March 1. This could still be a minor change, if March were changed to a 30 day month on non-leap years, but Black Hat apparently wants the changes to propagate throughout the year. This would result in a 366-day year, causing the months to drift out of alignment with the seasons over the course of years, needlessly complicating time-keeping. Black Hat is unconcerned with the effect this will have on the "people of the future", and, as in the past, people around him are much more concerned about the time problems he's creating than he is.

In the last frame, Black Hat states that if the those people cared about the problems he's causing, "they shouldn't have decided to live in the future." Of course, it is as present impossible to choose the time period in which you live,[citation needed] yet Black Hat intends on penalizing them for it. Any number of positions could be proposed as a motive for his actions (for example, he may envy them for having the technology or benefits of the future, and wants to counteract that), but it is most likely that he is simply honing his sociopathic tendencies on a defenseless target.

In the title text, Cueball responds that this change would also cause issues for him, who is "living in the present", and he should not be forced to "move into the future". Alternatively, viewing the quote as a continuation of Black Hat's text at the end of the comic, he could mean that the effect of his new calendar is placed mostly on future people, and since he literally lives in the present and doesn't intend on travelling to the future, he can do what he wants without many repercussions.


[Cueball checking his phone in a narrow panel.]
Cueball: Can't believe it's already March.
Black Hat (off-screen): Nah, it's February 29th.
[Cueball has put his phone away and is standing next to Black Hat.]
Cueball: It's not a leap year.
Black Hat: I decided to make it one. Every year deserves to leap.
Cueball: Can you do that?
Black Hat: Can anyone stop me?
[Zoom in on Cueball.]
Cueball: I guess if you just encourage people to call March 1st "February 29th", they can go along with it if they want. Just a one-day renaming.
Black Hat (off-screen): No, tomorrow will be March 1st.
[Cueball standing to Black Hat, who is walking off screen to the right, with his finger raised.]
Cueball: So you're causing calendar drift for future generations.
Black Hat: If they didn't want to experience consequences, they shouldn't have decided to live in the future.

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