A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the absurdity of Groundhog Day, but at the time, I had no idea exactly how pointless the holiday was.
Sure, it seems to make little sense to base our weather forecast on whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow (especially when he always seems to), but until I spoke with an eyewitness who had actually traveled to Punxsutawney to witness the event, I couldn’t have realized how absurd it actually is.
After I wrote my column, I had a conversation with a college friend who, on a whim, decided to drive to Punxsutawney to witness Phil himself in all his glory. While she apparently enjoyed the experience, I couldn’t help but sigh as she recounted the actually sequence of events that unfolds each year.
According to my friend and former roommate, the event unfolds around a large stage with a fake tree stump on top. When the appropriate time rolls around, the infamous Phil is pulled from the stump, allowed to look around and then “whispers” into the ear of a special groundhog translator whether or not he actually saw his shadow. The translator then announces Phil’s weather prediction to the world.
The only thing that seems crazier than letting a furry rodent predict whether or not we’ll see an early spring, is having a furry rodent “whisper” his prediction to a third party who then is supposed to give that message to us. I’m not a skeptic or a scrooge when it comes to most things, but I think Groundhog Day is now officially dead to me. And so is that translator if he keeps predicting longer winters for those of us on the east coast.