the groundhog revisited

The groundhog came out of his hole and saw his shadow again this year without any fanfare. I completely missed it. I just wasn’t paying attention. And not because I don’t value the little groundhog. In fact, I have the utmost respect for him. He goes through a lot, even if it’s only for one day a year. Since I missed his very special once-a-year day, I figured I would do something I just hate to do, I’ll reprint my homage to him from two years ago…when I had more time to contemplate the meaning of shadows and extra weeks of winter. Maybe it will serve as a reminder of the really important things in life…

Or not.

I got up this morning the way I do every morning…grudgingly. I stumbled out of bed, staggered sleepily to the shower, and completed my morning rituals quietly, and without interruption. It was a dreary morning. Light rain dripped down from a gray blanket of clouds. The sun had already come up, but it was nowhere to be seen. Despite the dismal gloomy sky, I took for granted that sunrise had come at the same time it did most every morning, I was rarely awake to see it. To me this was just another day in a long week of work. I was completely unaware that it was also Groundhog’s Day. I hadn’t saved that day on my smart phone, and if it isn’t on my smart phone…well, it must not be that important. When I finally realized what day it was—several hours later—I actually felt a little bad that I missed it, the whole extravaganza that surrounds the yearly appearance of the groundhog. And not just for the sake of the groundhog, but for sentimental reasons. Twenty years ago, this was the day my son was due to be born. (Thankfully, he was four days late because I can’t imagine what would have happened if HE had seen his shadow coming out…I don’t think I could have survived six more weeks of pregnancy.)

Then I started thinking about the groundhog again. Do we really care that much whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow? Does it still have the same relevance in our lives that it used to have? Maybe. But I would hazard a guess that the only relevance is psychological. Then again, I might take the whole ordeal more seriously if the news media didn’t trudge out to the animal’s den before the sun had even fully crested the horizon, lights and cameras in hand, to drag the poor thing out of its bed kicking and screaming. Even Paris Hilton gets more respect.

So I tried to think of myself like the groundhog. I imagined myself back in bed still asleep, as I usually am at quarter to seven in the morning, sweet dreams swirling around in my brain. Thirty or so minutes to go before the first wave of alarm clocks would go off and the only sound was the soft buzz of dogs snoring. Blissfully unaware…like our friend the groundhog. What would I do if someone came crashing into my bedroom so early, TV cameras at the ready? Provided they could plot a course through the dangerous territory known as my bedroom, a space riddled with doggy beds, loose blankets and half a dozen tennis balls, not to mention all three dogs and one ninja cat. (I have all too often gone down in that obstacle course myself.)

Still, the press is skilled at navigating treacherous terrain on a daily basis, so I will assume they survived the journey to find me, face buried in my pillow, sound asleep…and wham! Suddenly, I’m up! Eyes wild…teeth bared…hair all in a tangle. I think I might just curse them all to six more weeks of winter!

And why wouldn’t I?

Surely they deserve at least that! But because I’m so over winter, and ready to usher spring back in, I think I’d just doom them to six more weeks of whining instead. That might just be the PMS talking. I have been sadly afflicted these past few days. I don’t even know if groundhogs get PMS, but it would explain things a little bit better to know they did. What other excuse is there for cursing someone to six whole weeks of winter just for seeing one’s shadow? PMS does that to people. It’s a vicious cycle. Everyone dreads those terrifying days during each month when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are behaving like a raging bitch on a stick, and you just don’t give a damn. Relationships have been all but ruined because of PMS. People have been maimed and may have even died. It’s a serious matter that deserves serious attention.

I think it’s about time we created some sort of early detection system to send out a warning when PMS is evident. Similar to the one in place for tornados. It would be beneficial, especially for men. Like a public service announcement. “The emergency broadcast system’s PMS detection center has identified three women in your vicinity who are experiencing severe symptoms of PMS. This is not a test. You may want to take cover in a basement or other shelter surrounded by multiple sports channels and beer until the storm blows over.”

I’d be all for that. In fact, it might work in our favor. There is nothing that will clear a room faster than the three words, “I have PMS.” It’s almost like an exclusive club. And women who spend a lot of time together end up suffering around the same time every month. Misery loves company…and shopping…because PMS is almost completely alleviated by shopping, bitching and chocolate, and not necessarily in that order. So drop off your credit card on the way to your man shelter.

Happy Hour anyone?

Until the next time…I’ll be taking Midol!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on February 4, 2012 .