Thursday, February 4, 2016

To See or Not To See...That is Not the Question...

I can not wait until bedtime tonight. I usually struggle with insomnia but I have only had three hours of sleep in the last twenty four hours so, I highly doubt this is going to be an issue for me. I am not tired...I am beyond exhausted. I needed a pillow and a blanket and a flat surface about three hours ago but I have responsibilities. Now that I did not have time to receive and utilize a pillow, blanket, and a chance for flat surface laying.... I am cranky.

             Let's talk about Punxsutawney Phil for a second. I don't know if the U.S. has anymore of a more bizarre tradition than bringing out a terrified ground hog and holding him high in the air for people to cheer at him and then quietly watch, what I consider to be nothing more than a rather large ground squirrel, to see if he looks at his own shadow. Shadows depend on light source, not ground rodents. I may not of graduated high school but I did pay attention in Science class.

For those of you not familiar, a ground hog in a small town in Pennsylvania (Punxsutawney Phil or Phil for short) is supposed to predict our length of winter weather by whether or not he sees his own shadow. Yes, I am being serious. Yes his "predictions" are then broadcast on the news. If he sees his shadow and returns to his hole, it means six more weeks of winter and if he does not then it means an "early spring". It is called Ground Hog Day. This has been a thing since 1887. There is a rather funny Bill Murray movie about it, for further reference.

Now, not to be a negative Nelly but I am highly suspicious of any rodent claiming to predict the weather. First off, good ol' Phil was wrong last year. He predicted an early spring and we instead ended up with one of the worst winters I have ever experienced. We are talking negative 29 degrees Fahrenheit at some points. Um, Phil your predictions suck.

Secondly, I realize that even our own weather people are not accurate. We have all been repeatedly let down by them. In fact, a few weeks ago we were supposed to get a huge winter storm that was going to put us under several inches of snow. Most of us got a dusting. For some of us, not a single flurry was seen.

And it begs to question if a human person with state of the art radar equipment and a weather balloon can not accurately predict winter weather, how the hell can an overweight rodent that lives in the dirt do any better?

And how, pray tell, do we really know what Phil sees anyway? It is not as if he wears top hat and monocle and strokes his handlebar mustache while speaking with a faint French accent, "I have seen my shadow, Monsieur. You shall have much winter this year". He doesn't speak....He is a groundhog. He eats, sleeps, rummages, and poops. He does not hold titillating conversations with humans. Although, he does occasionally bite them.

Believing a rat makes weather predictions makes as much sense as me holding my twenty two pound cat out of the first story window and claiming that if he meows at me, I will win the powerball lottery. It is absolutely ludicrous.

Who the hell knows what he sees. Maybe he sees psychedelic monkeys form the Wizard of Oz swooping down to grab Dorothy and her little dog too. Maybe he sees Julie Andrews dancing on the grassy mountainside singing "The Hills Are Alive With Music". Maybe he sees a giant delicious chocolate cake floating in the sky. I don't know if he sees his own shadow but I do know that what he does see every year on February 2nd is a bunch overly excited people acting oddly and praising an overgrown prairie dog hoping in vain that the dredge we all call Winter will soon cease it's icy precipitation. What Phil sees once a year is whackos. Crazy, nutty, whackos desperate for a little bit of sunlight and a smidge of warmth in the desolace we call February. He sees people that are clinging to a slim thread of the possibility that we may soon walk on the grass without getting snow in our shoes.  That's what he sees.... Desperation. It must be terrifying for him. Poor little guy.

That is a lot of pressure to put on a unsuspecting groundhog that has no idea why he is being carted around and cheered at once a year when all he wanted to do was eat some nuts and sleep in like all the other regular groundhogs get to do on this day.

So, in short Groundhog day is a tradition, albeit a weird and totally inaccurate tradition but a tradition none the less. However, that does not mean that I have to believe that my weather has anything to do with a hairy rodent seeing or not seeing something or rather what we imagine him to have seen out of our own desperation. Because it is silly and frankly, I am too tired to be silly right now.

If a college educated weather man can't accurately predict the weather with all of the gadgets at his disposal, I highly doubt an earth dwelling ground squirrel is going to do much better.....but stranger things have happened. So, we will see.

Neurotic Nelly


  1. If your anxiety is OCD related, you might consider giving a mild dose of Lorazepam a try at bedtime. I've been taking .5MG for a few years now, and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with swirling thoughts like mental building plans for our new chicken coop.

    Re: Phil - c'mon, give the town a break. I don't think Phil is terrified (see Lorazepam above), it's a nice tradition that I hope to get to some day despite the fact that involves a 3 hour drive (which I hate), standing around in the cold (which I hate), being in close proximity to a lot of people (which I hate), and drinking a lot of alcohol, (which I like but don't do anymore because I hate myself afterwards). The movie groundhog day is genius.

  2. Thank you so much Jeff. My insomnia is actually just insomnia, I don't think it is anxiety related although if I do have anxiety it can make it worse. I actually think that the town is pretty cool and the celebration is neat. I just have to poke fun at the people that really want to believe that Phil predicts the weather. I mean, honestly I hope the little guy is right because I hate winter but his prediction history is pretty bad. Lol. The movie Groundhog Day is one of my favs. I sent you a comment on google + that for some reason I never saw until now. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. :)