For children—and apparently adults who are extremely in touch with their imaginations—it’s a yearly tradition to gather around the TV on Feb. 2 and see “Punxsutawney Phil” give an “expert” prediction on upcoming winter weather.
This year, Phil decided winter would end early and that spring was just around the corner, performing his usual song and dance to all his followers. Unfortunately, the Phil fan club was waiting for the chance to don their springtime shorts, and perhaps taking weather advice from a groundhog was a bad idea.
After crawling out of his little tunnel and failing to see his shadow, Phil misled the entire United States by promising an early spring. Which is obviously not the case, because if you haven’t noticed the weather has been anything but peaceful these last few days.
While most of us Phil followers will blow this off like the wind takes off my hat every morning, some observers of the annual ritual seem more outraged. Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor Mike Gmoser jokingly pressed charges against the cuddly critter for fraudulently predicting the weather.
The man must take his spring break seriously to press charges against an innocent animal. I know the incident was a “joke,” but isn’t there that old saying: All jokes contain a speck of honesty?
So, in taking this tough stance sarcastically, Gmoser’s demonstrating that he doesn’t have a lot on his plate. To file a criminal indictment against a creature making predictions based on its shadow status just comes off as a little silly to me.
Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, allegedly claimed that the blame falls on him and that he simply “misread” our furry friend’s prediction, leading the innocent citizens with no weather knowledge expecting a sunny spring to instead bundle up in oversized jackets.
Apparently this was enough for Gmoser to change his stance and offer up a pardon for the groundhog. He told the AP, “Frankly, he is a cute little rascal, a cute little thing, and if somebody is willing to step up to the plate and take the rap, I’m willing to listen.”
So Phil won’t be doing his weather song and dance from jail next year, even though the prospects of such a fate would surely create an immensely entertaining spectable.
The ratings would be through the roof. Apparently the scramblings of a terrified groundhog carry more weight than meteorology, especially in Butler County, Ohio.
T. S. Johnson is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.