Bad news from Gobbler's Knob! No sniggering at the back, please.
The world has gone to hell in a hand basket. We're in the grip of a raging pandemic, there's rioting in the streets, public buildings are being stormed, QAnon is convinced the USA is ruled by a baby-eating satanic cult, and democracy is teetering on the edge of the abyss...
Quite, but what's the weather gonna be like in the next six weeks?
Dunno, let's ask Phil.
Yep, just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder after the last four years, our American friends, bless their cotton socks, are asking a rodent to present the weather forecast. And not for the first time. They've been doing this since 1887. Mind you, thinking about it, is quizzing a furry critter about the weather prospects any weirder that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named suggesting we inject ourselves with disinfectant to ward off a deadly disease? Probably not.
Welcome to Groundhog Day (and no, I don't mean the film).
Yeah, I know it looks like a convention of funeral directors, but bear with me...
It's on this day that people flock to Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, to await the announcement from the local rodent celebrity named Punxsutawney Phil (after a borough in Jefferson County, PA. I've no idea who Phil was).
Actually, there was no flocking this year, on account of the virus, which meant the event was held in virtual time. Though, from what I could see, there wasn't much social distancing either, if the top hat-wearing dignitaries on view were anything to go by.
Originating with German settlers, who arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s carrying their seasonal superstitions with them, legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow on February 2, the winter chill will continue.
If you think that's odd, consider this. If, on the other hand, the weather's cloudy and he can't see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and an early spring. Yeah, I know, that's what I thought, too.
It is, nevertheless, a tradition to be cherished in these dark times. Even if it is as mad as a box of frogs. You can tell that by they way they try to engage Phil in earnest conversation. He doesn't look that impressed, frankly.
Any road, the result's in. Phil did, in fact, see his shadow this year, which means we're in for another six weeks of winter and even more misery.
All I can say is that Phil bore the indignity of being awoken by a group, of nutters with great patience, though I'm not sure how he felt when he was carried aloft. Probably thought: oh, crap, here we go again. It was embarrassing enough last year. Why don't they go and bother a hedgehog for a change..?
If you wanna take a look at the full ceremony, and enjoy the madness, then click on the image below. You'll see that, in fact, no-one takes themselves too seriously and it is good fun. And let's face it, we could all do with a good laugh...right?
Courtesy of GlobalNews: