Thursday, February 2, 2017
©2006 King Features Syndicate.
Marmota Monax, raise your Head -
By your Example we are led.
When you inhale the wint’ry Air,
Will you retreat into your Lair
Affrighted by a Shadow Fell,
Or (much more likely), human Smell?
If by the Sun a Shadow’s cast,
Might you predict a frosty Blast?
Perchance a Cloud obscures the Sky,
An Omen that warm Weather’s nigh.
Compared to you, Science is “Blawney,”
O, Oracle of Punxsutawney.
Today is Groundhog Day, that peculiarly American institution in which the scientific underpinnings of modern meteorology are discarded in favor of the random meanderings of a large, confused, squirrel-like rodent. It’s a holiday that seems especially appropriate given recent political developments.
Today is also the Thursday before the so-called Big Game, the term “Super Bowl” having been copyrighted, trademarked, or whatever. For those of us resident in the Atlanta area, it will be an exceptionally exciting Big Game, because our local NFL franchise is involved for the first time in eighteen years. And yet Sunday’s festivities will be a letdown compared to the real action, which will be taking place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this morning. It is then that Phil, the local Whistle-Pig, determines the weather conditions for the next three fortnights via the arcane art of Shadow Observation.
I gave up on trying to get tickets years ago. Scalpers have jacked the prices up to where they are more dear than Masters passes... or Super Bowl ducats, for that matter. And that’s unfortunate, because the parades and pageantry in Punxsutawney put Mardi Gras in New Orleans to shame. (Also, fewer trombones. Phil doesn’t like ’em.)
Have you purchased Groundhog Day cards for your friends and relatives? Sent Groundhog Day flowers and chocolates to that special someone? Why the fuck not? What are you waiting for? And if you have not already booked a table at your restaurant of choice, it’s probably too late - the place will be packed with Groundhog Day revelers. You’ll have to fall back on Plan B, the ever-popular Groundhog Day Backyard Barbecue.
Enjoy the day... and may the shadows be few!