Groundhog Day 2021: Hey Phil, Got Room in that Hole for the Rest of Us?

C’mon, did anyone really expect Punxsutawney Phil to predict an early spring?

It’s February 2021, for crying out loud, a cat whisker’s distance from the longest and most loathsome year in history.

The global pandemic that arrived about this time last year continues to rage on — and shows no sign of leaving. (Perhaps we should have known it would be an extended stay, considering how much baggage he brought with him).

Six more weeks of winter? That ain’t nothing but a heartache. On top of a quadruple bypass kind of year.

Since COVID came to town, every freaking day has been Groundhog Day.

We haven’t seen the sun in forever. Know what else we haven’t seen? Family, friends, ball games, hair salons, plays, the inside of a restaurant, the outside of our home arrest detention.

So some top-hat wearing woodchuck waddles out of his hole and sees his shadow. Boo-honey badger-boo-hoo!

All I’ve seen for 12 months going on 912 is my shadow. And my dogs who I trip over on the trudge back and forth between office, kitchen and bedroom. And the silhouettes of colleagues in the shadowbox of Zoom.

Cry me a river! We’ve been in hibernation longer than that prognosticating rodent has been alive. In quarantine with the Tiger King, Tik Tok and takeout food.

Six weeks of winter? We’ll take it! Beats the six gazillion weeks of our on-a-viral-loop winter. There may have been other seasons in there, too. But who noticed? No one, that’s who. Spring breaks turned into super spreader events. Summer vacations were cancelled. Back to school sent kids back to their bedrooms. Birthday celebrations were drive-by events. Thanksgiving tables went from long and rowdy to short and forlorn.

Who can blame Phil for turning tail and heading straight back to the comforts of his burrow?

Every time we made a go at venturing out — when news reports or wishful thinking told us we had rounded the corner, flattened the curve or found a cure — we were sent scurrying back home to wash our hands, swallow fistfuls of vitamin D, double mask and shelter in place.

We feel ya, Phil. We don’t care much for the view either.

Take off your hat, close your squinty eyes and go back to sleep, little buddy.

We’ll let you know when it’s your turn for the vaccine.

And then, only then, we’ll see about spring.

Writer who believes in the power of language to change minds, change moods and change the world.

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