Eric heard his own heart beating as he sat in Dr. Benn’s office. His legs bounced impulsively.
The door opened and Dr. Benn appeared. His glasses sat on the tip of his nose as he read something in a manilla file folder. He sat at his desk, finished reading, then peered at Eric over his glasses.
“How are we feeling today?” asked Dr. Benn.
“D’you know how many leap days I’ve seen?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“It’s leap day. February 29th.”
“So it is,” said Dr. Benn as he checked his calendar.
“Yeah. Anyway, like I was sayin’, I’ve seen eleven leap days. I was thinkin’ that each one is like a gift, ya know? Like a chance to do somethin’ amazin’. But ‘til now they’ve been wasted.” Eric’s legs continued to bounce.
“The search for meaning is universal. We all, at some point in our lives, seek something more than our daily existence. The key is to balance our search without compromising our internal sense of being. We mustn’t allow ourselves to deny what defines us,” said Dr. Benn. He continued to look at Eric over his glasses.
“Yeah, right. So anyway, I had a breakthrough. I know what I want to do with my life.”
“Before you continue, this isn’t your modified triathlon idea again, is it?”
“Hey, that was a great idea.”
“You wanted to replace swimming, cycling and running with jet skis, motorcycles and Segways.”
Eric sat up in his chair. “I’m still pitchin’ that to the Red Bull people. They haven’t got back to me yet. My new plan’s even better. I’m moving to Fiji.”
“Fiji. Why Fiji?”
“I’m gonna start the Fijian Curling Team and go to the Winter Olympics,” said Eric.
The office went silent except for the sound of Dr. Benn’s pen scratching notes in the manilla file folder.
“What d’ya think?” asked Eric, anxiously.
Dr. Benn leaned back in his chair, looked to the ceiling and chewed on his pen. “Hasn’t it already been done with the Jamaican Bobsled Team?”
“Sure, but that was back in ’88. This is a new era. Can you imagine? How cool would that be?”
“It’s quite an ambition. But do you think this is just another attempt at escaping what you perceive to be the mundanity of your current life?” asked Dr. Benn. He folded his hands on his desk and looked over his glasses at Eric.
“Well, duh. I just told you I wanted to do something more with my life. The way I see it, you gotta kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight. Something’s gonna work, I just gotta keep tryin’.”
“Musical clichés aside…”
“Hold on, I’m not finished. I wanna create somethin’. I wanna look back on my life and not wonder ‘what if’. I mean, don’t you ever feel like that?”
“I find personal satisfaction in my work.”
“All that means is you live vicariously through people like me. That’s just sad, man,” said Eric.
Dr. Benn looked at his nots and pretended to write. “Our time is up for now. We’ll continue this discussion next week.”
“Actually, no. I’m leaving for Fiji in three days. Just wanted to let you know. Take care, doc,” said Eric, right before he shut the office door.
Dr. Benn stared off into space for a moment. He looked back at his notes, smiled and said, “I’m a genius.”