Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day, 2014.
The same as Groundhog Day 1998.

In celebration of all things Bill Murray, I present for you a random bit of writing dating back to February 2, 1998. This was back in the dark ages of the internet, when porn was plentiful, but information was scarce. Way back before Wikipedia, so if one could not find information, one had to make it up (eventually to be uploaded to Wikipedia). My original missive is presented here in its (mostly) unedited glory. I fixed a couple spelling errors and added a few words to a sentence that I must have started but never finished. Some references are dated. Deal with it.

Happy groundhog day, everybody.

Fabulous holiday, that: Groundhog Day. Bit of a scam, really. As I write this, I’m trying (without much luck) to get some information about the history on this blessed event off the Internet. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that the official website of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, and all things groundhog never gets so many hits as it does today. Which is making it very difficult for me to get you the true story (as the good people of Punxsutawney would have us believe — and possibly the evil ones, too) of Groundhog Day.

Damn. Once again, the server timed out, but not before I noticed it trying to load a link to the “inner circle”.


Well, I’ve done my duty. I tried to tell you their side before proposing my hypothesis. Don’t say I’m not being fair. I’m just trying to look out for the animals, here.

So. My theory? I think that somewhere along the way, the people of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania took a deep look within themselves and accepted the truth about themselves. They were a town with nothing much to speak of: no tourist trade, no interesting religious sects, and no factory that produced some sort of product that was needed by the rest of the country, thereby validating them as a viable and necessary part of America at large, regardless of the byproducts that such a factory would produce, thus endangering the environment of beautiful little Punxsutawney and the rest of America as well. But the fact that Punxsutawney was such an unspoiled little chunk of the world led to just the right conditions for groundhog reproduction.

It’s a little known fact (little known, because it’s very likely not true) that groundhogs need just the right circumstances in which to reproduce. Just like weathermen. You see, to be a Weatherman is a calling, like the clergy. A “weatherman” without the call is like somebody who goes enters the priesthood because he’s the youngest in his family, and it’s tradition, or a somebody who gets his divinity degree because he hopes to make a killing as a televangelist. Sure, anybody with an unnatural attraction for weather can go to school to be a meteorologist, but a Weatherman is something greater. It’s like a mixture of biology and alchemy. And the case is similar with a groundhog.

So some sharp cookie in Punxsutawney realized this, and understood that there was some psycho-scientific truth to the groundhog legend (possibly some member of the aforementioned “inner circle”, or maybe the fellow who started it) and this individual decided to market the holiday, for the good of his town. Or rather its survival.

From what I understand, there are towns scattered around America that, because they had nothing to offer the rest of the country, either eventually became ghost towns or ended up desperately grasping at straws to remain viable. These are the towns that honor anyone who happens to achieve some modicum of fame, even if what that entails is having been on both “Geraldo” and “Jerry Springer”. In light of that, i think you all will agree with me that Punxsutawney has done ok for itself.

But what about the animals?

How do the groundhogs feel about all this? Do groundhogs like the attention of humans? I suppose, as a groundhog, all your days pretty much blend. One day as about the same as the next. Maybe burrow a little bit. Gather some nuts, or whatever it is that groundhogs do. Perhaps an exciting day involves having to run from a predator. I wonder if they hold little elections, perhaps a lottery, to determine who gets to be “Phil”. That may be an honor. Or not. Maybe it’s like being a sacrifice, and whoever ends up being “Phil” (by holy calling or by the drawing of straws) is revered in groundhog songs, and honored as a martyr. So perhaps it’s not so bad.

I guess that’s all I really have to say about nothing for today. Spread a little groundhog love.