On Topic: Sorry Phil, your services are no longer needed

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

No, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow — and yes, there’s obviously going to be six more weeks of winter.


Well, mostly because it is winter, and spring doesn’t EVER start until March.

The other reason?

He’s a f***ing groundhog.

We’re going to throw Phil in with leprechauns and the tooth fairy as things that just don’t exist, no matter how many rainbows we see or $5 bills we find under our pillows.

The very description of “Groundhog Day” on Wikipedia is enough to drive you toward an alcoholic beverage at nine o’clock in the morning.

The event is based upon a communal light-hearted suspension of disbelief. It is organised by the “Inner Circle” — recognizable from their top hats and tuxedos — who ostensibly communicate with Phil to receive his prognostication. This suspension of disbelief extends to the assertion that the same groundhog has been making predictions since the nineteenth century.

Let’s first give it up for whoever got the honor of writing Phil’s Wikipedia page. If the website weren’t a not-for-profit grab bag of legitimacy and witticism, I’d say we should petition to get them a hefty raise.

Now let’s set the record straight — the entire thing is a sham.

The Inner Circle scripts the Groundhog Day ceremonies in advance, with the Inner Circle deciding beforehand whether Phil will see his shadow.

Hold on, it gets better.

The Stormfax Almanac has made note of the weather conditions on each Groundhog Day since 1999; the almanac has recorded 12 incidents in a 20-year span in which the Inner Circle said the groundhog saw his shadow while the sky was cloudy or there was rain or snow coming down, and in one case said the groundhog did not see his shadow despite sunshine.

Considering it’s built almost entirely on fiction crafted from an outdated understanding of how a group of white men thought we should do something, Groundhog Day is about as American as the Bill of Rights or the Pledge of Allegiance.

We should also consider how little Phil himself cares — not only about February 2nd, but about the weather.

It is now that I will share with you when I tried to research Groundhogs, I hit a paywall on National Geographic’s website. I guess you really can make a profit off of anything.

I was able to learn that Groundhogs are basically large squirrels. They eat all summer so they can chill out in the colder months.

So yeah, let’s look to a 14-pound rodent who eats himself into a months-long coma when we want to find out when the temperature will break 50 degrees for the first time since October.

It may seem like I’m picking on Phil — but I’m not. He’s cute, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, I just don’t trust he has a legitimate meteorological degree.

The lesson here?

Considering we seek an annual atmospheric prediction from an animal with the scientific name Marmota monax, owned and controlled by a group of top hat-wearing white men — I guess I really shouldn’t be too surprised that we elected a spray-tanned reality television host to run our country, and allowed him to do so for the entirety of his four-year term.

Thank you for reading — I’ll admit to thoroughly enjoying this one.

Until next time.



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