I bet you think he’s cute. Cuddly. Innocent, even.
But he’s messing with our minds, I tell you.
Every year, on February 2, the United States goes through this thing called Groundhog Day. It’s supposed to be a cute way of determining if we’re going to get another six weeks of Winter or if we’re going to see an early Spring, and it’s all based on whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow.
It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.
Why, you ask? Well, this is why:
If a groundhog sees his shadow in one city or state, but doesn’t see it in another city or state, what did he see, exactly? Something? Nothing?
And what does that mean, then? More Winter? Early Spring? Would I have to move somewhere else if I wanted more Winter or an earlier Spring?
And what if I don’t want to move?
More than that, what if the groundhog in my hometown is wrong? Or lying to me? Or worse, just telling me what I want to hear? Or telling me what I don’t?
This is too much for me to comprehend. I have enough in my life to fret over and think about and rationalize, and the fact that I have to add this to my already long list of worries is too much. I mean, seriously. How do we know these groundhogs aren’t chatting away behind the scenes, on a level we don’t understand, all with the goal of messing with our minds? And I bet it sounds something like this:
“Okay, Joe. You’re not going to see your shadow. But Mike, you are.”
“But what about Nancy? She hasn’t been out of her burrow in a long time.”
“You’re right. Someone get Nancy and tell her she’s gotta make a show of it. She’ll see her shadow, and so will Dan, Ann, and Vicki.”
“You realize we have more groundhogs that will see their shadow than those that won’t, right?”
“Good point. Okay, you four — Ben, Frank, Rosa, and Gina — you’re with Joe. You’re not going to see your shadow. We’re an even split now. That’ll show those stupid humans. All we want to do is sleep, and every year they yank us out of our warm beds, put us on display before those things they call cameras, and mock our livelihoods. I’m sick of it.”
“You know that splitting us down the middle like that won’t stop humans from doing this every year, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but it’s fun to mess with them anyway. Remember that time Roger bit that Wisconsin Mayor? We gotta get ourselves more of that.”
So the groundhog sees his shadow. Or doesn’t. And then everyone gets happy when they know Spring will come early (even though some of us get hit hard with Springtime blizzards). Or people bitch and moan that we’re getting another six weeks of winter, only to live through the warmest season ever.
You should know that Punxsutawney Phil has been doing this for 120 years (well, not Phil, but Phil and his descendants, because that would be one super old groundhog and, besides, I don’t think they live that long). So far, he’s “predicted 103 forecasts of more winter and 17 early springs. (There are nine years without any records, and even the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce, which keeps track of these things, doesn’t know what happened to Phil during those years.) Data from the Stormfax Almanac’s data shows that Phil’s six-week prognostications have been correct about 39% of the time.”
But what do you expect? These are groundhogs after all. And, for some reason, we continue to listen to them.
It’s an evil, sinister conspiracy, I tell you. 🙂
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