"It is an ironic juxtaposition: One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog." -Air America Radio commenting on the overlap of the 2006 Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address
Every February 2, while hoards of folks stand calf-deep in the sparkly white stuff (I sense a salt-stain coming on!), Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hideaway on Gobbler's Knob to predict the weather for the remainder of winter. You know the drill...the groundhog pokes out his furry head and if he sees his shadow, it's six more weeks of winter. If not, it's spring. In over 120 years, Phil has never gotten it wrong.
In the celebrated movie "Groundhog Day," Bill Murray portrays Phil Connors, a TV meteorologist who travels to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to report on the Groundhog Day festivities, but is then trapped by a blizzard leaving him snowbound. Forced to stay the night because of icy, trashed roads, he's awakened by the sounds of "I Got You Babe" at 6:00 a.m. in what he assumes is the following morning. But instead of being the next day, Phil Connors endlessly repeats Groundhog Day over and over and over.
Much like Punxsutawney Phil...a chubby, probably super-bored groundhog who lives in a cage, weighs 15 pounds, and flourishes on Kibbles-n-Bits and Hagen Das in his sweating-to-the-oldies "suite" at the Punxsutawney Library (Someone should check his cholesterol...Lipitor Phil?), Mr. Connors is equally passive and perplexed.
Realizing that his shallow, day-to-day, often self-destructive behaviors have no long-term consequences (scoring with hot chicks, robbing banks, murdering Phil the Groundhog, driving drunk and smashing up cars, dozens of successful attempts at suicide), he's always brought back to where he began...waking in the same bed, at exactly the same time, under the same sheets, in the same room, in the same small Pennsylvania town, to the same tune by Sonny and Cher.
In an attempt to find meaning in his now predictable, dull, daily life and, realizing that he can't get what he needs from others, he sets his sites on a course of self-improvement. Busting free from the echoes of his self-serving behaviors (profound...right?), accepting that the prison of a perpetually never-ending day need not be a death sentence but rather an opportunity for change, and finally grasping that until he gets it right, he's just gonna keep coming back.
On this Groundhog Day, how about changing any of your slovenly ways into a gift for the greater good? (No judgment here... I'm doing it too!) Why not transform your sofa-spud-self into a spic-and-span success; your financial failures into a formula for philanthropy; your inner-dead-beat-sponging-loafer into a treasure-trove of eco-consciousness? If you don't do something (anything!) you might just keep coming back again, and again, and again, too!
Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be one of those folks in Punxsutawney who are waiting thigh-high in snow for the "critter" to see his shadow (or, for that matter, if you are anywhere where there's snow, ice, and salted roads) you can easily remove those salt stains from your boots and shoes by wiping them down with equal parts white vinegar and water. Rather than just waiting for the next rain or snow to remove those salt stains, see how simple it can be to transform yourself into a proactive eco-cleaner. I promise, if you do just that, when you wake up on what you think is February 3rd, it'll actually be February 3rd!
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