Ignore the groundhog

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By Faith Evans

Illustration by Faith Evans
Illustration by Faith Evans

Six whole extra weeks of spring are in question right now, and North America has left the decision up to a rodent. Yes, Groundhog Day has arrived. On Feb. 2, people all over Canada and the United States will turn over their seasonal fate to an animal that can’t even decide whether it wants to be a hedgehog or a gopher.

In all honesty, Groundhog Day is a thing of the past. It is well known that the changing seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and any unusual weather patterns can be explained by human impact or some major natural disaster(s). People no longer need animal instincts to tell them what the weather will look like for the next few months; there are such things as Google and weather apps.

Besides, Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-hog, vernal-equinox-predicting extraordinaire himself, has only had about a 39% success rate in the 130 recorded years he’s been anticipating the coming of spring. With a percentage like that, humanity can definitely trust him with the most important season of the year. Early German colonists considered the groundhog “[the] most intelligent and sensible animal,” according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, but Mr. Phil is somehow doing worse than the local weatherman.

What did Phil’s shadow ever have to do with anything, anyway? Obviously, a great deal of thought was put into his forecasting system. An overcast, cloudy day is supposed to mean spring is coming early, while a bright sunny day for Phil somehow equates to a nice, long winter. His logic is so sound an avalanche couldn’t knock it over.

Of course, Phil should not be used as a scape-gopher. It is the fault of humanity for allowing him to hold so much power. Tomorrow, Phil will tell America what the next six weeks are going to look like, weather-wise, and many will believe his prediction as if it comes straight from an almanac.

For those who are also confused and doubting this strange practice, and for those who are completely okay with the fact that spring doesn’t start until March, here’s an idea: no matter what Phil says tomorrow, in protest of this useless, dying tradition, go by what every normal, correct calendar says and celebrate the first day of spring on its rightful day of arrival. Down with the Groundhog.