This time last year I was in Europe doing an internship with a bunch of people from around the world. I tried to explain Groundhog Day to them and realized that if they didn’t think Americans were crazy before, there was really no chance for our kind after they vaguely grasped the concept of this holiday. Think of it: “Everybody waits for this weird beaver thing to come out of a hole…or is it a tree stump?…and then if he gets scared or shy or is having a bad hair day and doesn’t want to be seen in public, there’s six more weeks of winter.” Seriously? Who came up with this? Let’s just call a spade a spade and give Groundhog Day a name that makes sense. Here are my ideas, but I’m open to others.
Discredit A Meteorologist Day: Even though our trusty weathermen have been warning us all year when we need an umbrella and when it’s a bad day to wear a short flowy skirt (unless of course you have some cute new underwear you want to show off), on Groundhog Day, all bets are off. For some reason, on February 2, our local meteorologists become as reliable as that dirty guy on the corner wearing the sandwich board that says the world is ending. “Well, the news this morning said there’s a cold snap coming, but Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow. Warmer days are ahead!” Maybe we should start implementing other days where we ignore people with degrees in a subject. How about one where a bloodhound takes the place of doctors everywhere? “Well, the OBGYN says we’re having a boy, but the dog just decreed that all babies born this year are going to be girls. Johns Hopkins Medical School, my butt!”
Pretend Every State Has Seasons Day: As a Texas girl, born and bred (actually let’s not think about the bred part), I have yet to experience a full year of seasons. Sure, I’ve been in New York during the fall and the beginning of a mild winter. I’ve seen the end of a winter in Boston just as spring was about to burst out of hiding. But I can guarantee that Texas at that time was experiencing 70-degree or higher weather. We’ll watch as Phil tells us whether we’re going to have six more weeks of winter, but really we’re wondering where our winter is in the first place. As I type this, it’s 75 outside and feels the same as it did four months ago. So maybe the people of Philadelphia are anxious to find out whether they’ll get an early spring, but I just want to ask the little chunk of fur when I’m going to see a real winter. You know, more than one day of non-sticking snow each year. Where’s the weird superstition for that?
Obscure Animal Appreciation Day: If it weren’t for Groundhog Day, none of us would know anything about the strange creature. Trying to explain it to the Europeans, I realized I still don’t really know anything about it. “What’s a groundhog?” they asked. Umm, a giant prairie dog? A beaver without the useful tail? A miniature, harmless bear? I have no idea. Eventually, we decided it was a toss-up between Bill Murray and a marmot, whatever that is. So in celebration of Groundhog Day, go learn something about our friend the woodchuck, the whistle-pig, the large ground squirrel, commonly known as the groundhog.
Read more from Bethany Poller on her blog.
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