(As told to me by Punxsutawney Phil)

It’s been happening for over a century, and to be quite honest, it needs to stop right now. It needed to stop last year. It needed to stop after the Bill Murray movie. Shadow or no shadow, you people in Punxsutawney need to give it a rest. I see you coming in droves — thousands of you — year-in and year-out to see whether your winters will be longer. Last time I checked none of us are related to Frank Field or have Stan Lee-inspired powers. We can’t predict your weather. Leave us the hell alone.

We groundhogs live a simple life without you in it. I’m just an ordinary rodent who likes to sleep all day, poop a little on the side of things, and on occasion, enjoy a fine glass of wine or read the latest John Grisham thriller. I also dabble in jazz a bit. Read into that what you may. We all try to keep our privacy yet somehow once February 2 rolls around that’s impossible. It happens each year like clockwork, one of my siblings or I get dragged out to Gobbler’s Knob by some silly-looking old white guy with a funny hat and thrown out to the masses. You love us if we “predict” less cold. You hate us if we “predict” more winter. Honestly?

A small contingent of us groundhogs — known by some in Lancaster as Groundhog Nation — have previously filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania, but our actions are often met with a big “ho-hum;” cases are immediately dismissed and any such action are kept out of the media, naturally.

I listen to Tupac. I know my rights. Furthermore, the “Inner Circle” in Punxsutawney claim there has only been one Phil, but let’s get real — we groundhogs live only two decades if we’re lucky. My name isn’t Phil. It’s Reynaldo Gomez. Great, so we’re animals that mostly sleep all day and die young. What fun! Thanks for exploiting us with what little time we have on this planet.

How would you like it if say you’re playing mini-golf with your family or eating at The Ground Round (are any of those chains still open?) and out of the blue, one of us plucked your kid out from under you, drags them downtown, and then holds them up like Simba from “The Lion King?” Not so cool, right?

This freak show has been going on since the late 1880s whether it’s in PA, Canada or overseas. This festival of lies ends today. This is the last time I’m coming out. Next year, I’m telling you they’ll be hell to pay.

We see our shadows every day — even when news cameras aren’t rolling. Does any one honestly believe Groundhog Day will make you shovel snow longer or shorter this winter? You people with your fake holidays….It’s unbelievable. A real “Groundhog Day” would celebrate our kind — make our interests your interests (try sleeping in for a day — it’s divine.)

Pick on a different rodent — try a Meerkat they’re pretty useless and unattractive animals. Find someone else’s shadow to predict weather forecasts. Let a meteorologist do their job (try to anyway) or open up the Farmer’s Almanac. Because honestly, we groundhogs can’t handle the burden placed on us anymore. Like Fiona Apple, I’m a shadow boxer baby…and next year’s forecast if you come to Punxsutawney is partly cloudy with a chance of me kicking your ass.

Confessions of a Groundhog

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