I’m gonna be honest with you, I’ve always had a problem with the whole magical, weather-forecasting groundhog concept. Hell, I’ve always had a problem with the magical, weather-forecasting guy on the news who’s never technically gotten a forecast right yet, but has just hit a rough patch in his career ever since he decided to become a weatherman, but for this time around, I’ll try to just focus on the mammals.
The furry ones that live in the ground, anyways.
I mean, seriously – let’s think about this one for just a second. The whole crazy idea of Groundhog Day started over a hundred and fifty years ago when the crazy settlers of the time started looking to their front yards to determine just how much longer they’d have to endure the famine and pestilence that winter had to offer. Out pops a furry, little fellow, and if he sticks around for a cup of tea and a bad joke, spring will be right around the corner. Otherwise, if he gets one look at all of the weirdoes eyeing him for weather advice after he’s just awoken from a three month nap and heads back to bed, then … well, let’s just say that this was the one occasion when those kids who got god-awful ugly scarves from their grandmothers were actually idolized by the rest of their settler-kid friends…
But here’s the kicker – the “science” of it, if you can even call it that. In all actuality, the idea of the groundhog seeing his own shadow is a result of the sun being out, so naturally – no sun, a la cloudy day, equals no shadow, and hello spring! My point being, I’m not exactly sure why the groundhog needs to be involved at all – if some sort of shadow is really the icing that these crazy folks are after, then a plain, old stick – you know, like the ones used to build your house – would just as well produce a shadow on a sunny day, and you don’t have to worry about feeding the little fella after this whole dog and pony show, either! Or even better, for the stick-lacking settlers or even just those with a tiny, miniscule ounce of common sense, just look up in the bloody sky, for god sakes!
Or perhaps my own personal preference, the Amazing, Magical, Technicolor Weather Turnip! And unlike your grazing, little groundhog, my magical turnip can predict a variety of weather patterns, such as when it’s just about to snow in Florida (never), when the Great Lakes region can expect a hurricane (never), and even when it would be a particularly nice evening for a night walking around New York City without fear of getting brutally beaten and mugged and whatnot (never). I’m proud to boast that to date my turnip has managed to sustain a 100% accuracy record, to the point where I’m thinking about marketing it to local news stations to help, errr, improve the quality of their weather broadcasts! I’m sure planting a few turnip fields would be a hell of a lot cheap than all of that Doppler crap, and if we can find a good enough makeup artist to pretty some of them up, there’s a good possibility that they’d be able to even replace the on-air talent, too! Just call be Mr. Efficiency…
Of course, unfortunately (for you), my magical turnip can’t do much for telling you whether or not to expect six more weeks of winter … unless you live in Florida, that is, in which case the turnip will just stare blankly back at you because really as long as the sun comes up at all tomorrow, be it all by itself in the sky or even hiding behind a whole mess of clouds, it all means the same thing – six more weeks of beautiful weather here in Florida.
Besides, me thinks that those little guys wouldn’t last all that long down here as gator bait anyways. Alligators don’t particularly care for turnips – definitely an important thing to consider when you’re working on the business plan for a magical one, that’s for sure! You want to make sure that a lot of different thing won’t want to eat your product, that is unless it’ll make them super strong or able to fly, but seriously – we’re talking about turnips here. Has anyone ever actually even tasted a turnip?
Anyways, so you just go on ahead with your little Groundhog Day charade, if you must – if anybody needs us down here, we’ll all be at the beach. We can do that … because we live in Florida … and we have really nice weather here! Of course, if you do happen to come across a groundhog, or really any burrowing-type mammal, who could possibly do something to predict hurricanes, then maybe we should talk…
If the groundhog sees his shadow, meaning that he hasn’t gotten blown halfway across the county by 80 mph winds, that’s six more weeks of not having to worry about waking up one morning to find that you no longer have a roof.
…or that your neighbor now has two roofs.
…or really anything potentially unpleasant that you can possibly imagine involving your house’s roof.