It's Groundhog Day. Every year on this day, thousands of people gather at Gobblers Knob, Pennsylvania to see if a rodent named Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not to know if we will have six more weeks of winter or if spring is on the way. This is supposed to be based on hibernation and if the groundhog is ready to get out of bed or not for the year. Heck, if I could be a weather predictor in winter, I'd never get out of bed just for the extra sleep, so it's no wonder he sees his shadow. Really, it's more of a tradition than a weather indicator and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (sounds like a pretty important government faction to be commenting on a groundhog, doesn't it??) even says that Punxsutawney Phil has "no predictive skill". Really? Are people not smart enough to figure this out about a groundhog that you felt the need to come out with an official comment??
Of course I don't think that Punxsutawney Phil has much more predictive ability than the meteorologists on the news. I think I had it all wrong as a little kid when I said I either wanted to be a mommy or a teacher - I should have said I wanted to be a meteorologist. They can be wrong at their jobs CONSISTENTLY and still make good money - what other career can boast about that??
I really wanted to write this post so I could repeatedly type "Punxsutawney" (say it a few times, it rolls off the tongue nicely) but here are a few fun facts about Phil:
- Phil made his first appearance in 1887.
- His official website says he is over 100 years old...righttttt.
- The average life of a groundhog is 6-9 years.
Let's think about that for a minute... It's 2010 now.
2010 - 1887 = 123
If we give Punxsutawney Phil a decent groundhog lifespan, considering he's probably better taken care of than the average wild groundhog at 8 years:
123/8 = 15.375
Seems to me, we're on our 16th or so (give or take a few groundhog mishaps) Punxsutawney Phil. It could probably be more than that - maybe the townsfolk of Gobblers Knob start to go crazy after a particular rodent has seen his shadow a certain number of times and send him off to groundhog heaven to try their luck with a new one?
My take on this is F you Punxsutawney Phil, F you winter and F you meteorologists!