A Georgetowner Leap Day Birthday: He’s 21!

Today, retired Judge Roger Pauley will celebrate his 21st birthday. In reality, he is a few decades older than that, but if you went by his actual birthday, Feb. 29, the former chairman of the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission would be of legal drinking age on this very day.

“Having a Leap Day birthday has been fun,” Pauley said. “It’s always been a potential topic of conversation if I so desire.”

He occasionally takes advantage of restaurant discounts or free items, like Sprinkles’ giveaway 12 years ago.

If you’re wondering when Pauley celebrates his birthday on what he calls the “off” three years, he prefers March 1 because Feb. 28 is “clearly a day short!”

While he doesn’t do anything special on Leap Day, but when one happens on a significant year like his 18th or 21st, he likes to note humorous aspects.

“For example, the Selective Service law, to the best of my recollection, states that males must register for the draft within 10 days of ‘having attained their 18th birthday,’ ” he said. “I thought of actually not registering within 10 days of my 18th year of existence (but not wishing to risk imprisonment, decided against), or re-registering on my 72nd year’s birthday and seeing what response I’d get, but again I forbore.”

Pauley prosecuted draft dodgers among others when he worked for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for many years.

Pauley and his wife Caren settled in Georgetown in 1973, and both have liked the plethora of small businesses within walking distances, as well as the community’s historic streets and homes. The couple particularly enjoy Georgetown Seafood on Potomac Street.

“When it opened I suggested they revise their menu to offer a lobster roll on a bed of lettuce rather than a bun,” Pauley said. “They did!” The item, called “The Roger,” is now named after him.

The Georgetowner Newspaper wished a happy 15th birthday to Pauley in 2000. Photo courtesy of Caren Pauley.

As for his past chairmanship of the ANC, Pauley is proud of what he calls his principal accomplishment—working with then Council member John Ray to augment the power of the ANCs.

“At the time, Georgetown was experiencing a problem with bars that would stay open until the late a.m. hours, when patrons would wander the streets loudly cursing in search of their cars, having forgotten where they parked,” he said. “The legislation enabled ANCs to have input in bars’ house, and also required city agencies.” If bars chose not to follow an ANC’s recommendation as to bars’ hours and other matters of local concern, to set forth written reasons for doing so.”

Back to Pauley’s big 21stt birthday. He’s eagerly looking forward to celebrating with some friends his “legal” drinking age. Happy birthday, Roger, and to all the other Georgetown Leap Day babies!


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