Following in the tradition of sharing a bit of PA culture, here is Pennsylvania's most embarrassing moment that we are, unfortunately, willing to repeat every year, all in the name of commerce.
Another celebration of Groundhog Day has concluded in Punxsutawney, PA. I can't say it was riveting, but it was so bizarre it held my attention. Of course, being a resident of Pa, groundhog day is not a new phenom, Yet I can't help wondering how low human dignity can go, all in the name of sport.
Who in the world came up with this tradition? Granted, any town named Punxsutawney has to be a former Indian tribe area and the Indians did have some strange beliefs, but I would think that after the buffalo disappeared that ground hogs would have been popular tepee fare for the evening meal. So, I have to ask myself, is this Mother Nature's way of rewarding the worship of the groundhog or is this just some towns desperate attempt to get on the map? (Whichever, it certainly got them on the map!)
Where do they find these grey headed, distinguished looking gentleman to make such fools of themselves--whispering with groundhogs--Come on! This goes way beyond the believable! Are they part of some secret society or something? Or are they just escapees from the local mental institution? And who provides and pays for the tuxedos and top hats? Perhaps there is a more than pork in the current congressional bill. (Groundhog bologna, anyone?)
Why oh why is there so much hoopla over an animal that most of us would rather shoot than look at? They eat our flowers, dig holes under our decks, cause a large percentage of broken and sprained ankles in the summer time, and make us to run off the road as we try to avoid hitting them. (I don't think they work for the car insurance companies--the squirrels and the gecko have that gig locked up).
Why in the world would people travel from Iceland, England, Australia, and beyond to attend this ceremony that lasts an hour at best? For heaven's sake, the place is almost impossible to find, lost in the mountains where some don't even speak English yet! (My theory is that they are towns people who have spent the year learning accents who dress up like foreigners and carry signs that say they are from some country). This is their yearly trek to the "mecca" that brings them out of the woods and into civilization for the census count, so that they can submit their town's budget to the PA congress to insure that the tuxedo rental will be secured for next year.
I mean seriously, does this guy look foreign to you??
I would wager that these men who allow themselves to be seen on national t.v. reading the sacred groundhog scrolls and uttering the timeless nonsense would not do something even 1/1000 as silly in church to bring honor to God and honor HIS sacred scroll. (It never ceases to amaze me to see what entertains and interests the world!) To be honest, I'm almost ashamed to admit I'm from PA! Not only do we hold onto guns and God, but evidently groundhogs as well!
And let's not forget the most innocent victim in this scheme---the groundhog! Sure it must be a nice conversation topic on the groundhog school yard if you are related to the famous "Phil". But seriously, where is PETA when you need them the most! Does this groundhog look happy and secure to you?????? Frankly to me, he looks drugged and terrified. Here this poor fellow is just trying to do what comes naturally this time of year--it's called HIBERNATION! But, these fool people have to yank the poor guy from his long winter's nap, hold him up in the air and scare him half to death while bright lights shine in his face and the voices of thousands of humans that he runs and hides from when he's awake thunder in his ears. It's got to be a groundhog's worst nightmare! It's a wonder he's never had a heart attack and died! (I bet that poor guy's biological clock is beyond repair!) Then to make matters worse, before he can get back to sleep, he has to have his picture taken with a bunch of people that are so drunk, that the only way they will remember that they were there is the unusual groundhog photo they find in their developed film.
To me, it's just all foolishness! The dumb animal's prediction hasn't been right once in my lifetime! He's probably happy that he's not human, for many reasons, but one being that if he was, he would've been shamed by the community a long time ago! I guess we cut him some slack since he is, afterall, only a rodent. And probably, if Phil could have his way, he'd choose to hibernate all year round just to avoid having to mess with the crazy people in this world who celebrate with gusto on Groundhog Day. (I highly doubt that the groundhogs of America get this hyped up over groundhog day.) It just goes to show you that there is no such thing as human dignity--not in PA anyway!