Groundhog Day (or St. Groundhog’s Day as it’s called in Eastern Bavaria) is named for St. Groundhog – a 19th century monk of the Rodentia order who was famed for his study of natural weather patterns and his prophetic writings about a then-unheard-of man by the name of Bill Murray. St. Groundhog, or “Philip,” as he was known to his friends and family, lived a relatively quiet life in southeastern Germany, though frequently feuding with Germany’s favorite weather-predicting animal – a hedgehog named Norman Kardashian.
Besides his obsession with collecting gold rings and running super fast, Norman spent most of his time talking about what an awesome weather predictor he was, though proof of his skills have yet to be discovered. Like the rest of his inexplicably famous family, Norman Kardashian was known throughout Europe; despite never having made any significant contributions to industry, science, economics, or the arts.
Over time, St. Groundhog developed an algorithm loosely based upon Euler’s equation which would let him, with roughly 59% accuracy, predict the end of winter and the correlating start of spring using his shadow as the primary function in the equation. After some refining, a little liquid courage, and some public speaking lessons from a meerkat named Timon, St. Groundhog held his first public demonstration in a town square on Thursday, February 2nd, 1882.
Suspicious of his rival, Norman and his shifty entourage of large-butted shrews showed up to observe St. Groundhog’s presentation. Jeering as he began to speak, Norman shouted, “You suck, Philip! You’ll never get this right and become a famous marmot who has an American holiday named after him!” Undaunted, St. Groundhog continued his presentation. Dismissing the crowd, he ended with three short words that have lived on in perpetuity, “Winter is coming,” predicting southeastern Germany would have 6 more weeks of winter.
Not to be outdone, Norman immediately wrote an op-ed for the local newspaper about how his family, the Kardashians, were the best natural weather predictors on the planet and that the townsfolk should “keep up with them.” In his op-ed, Norman shamed St. Groundhog for his antiquated techniques and brazenly stated that winter was over. Thus, stirring the townsfolk into a frenzy of throwing away their big, puffy jackets in favor of khaki cargos and long-sleeve Def Leppard t-shirts.
During the days following St. Groundhog’s demonstration, the temperature warmed…while St. Groundhog’s spirits dropped. Norman and his squad made hourly trips to the Rodentia Monastery, taunting Philip for making an incorrect prediction. They taunted day in and day out for 10 whole days, prompting St. Groundhog to humbly gather his few belongings, and set sail for America.
A Groundhog, Transformed
Though history tells us that his prediction turned out to be correct, as temperatures dropped soon after and the town languished in another month of bitter winter, St. Groundhog determined to never again be a victim of bullying. After deciding to live a quiet life of solitude, he sneaked aboard a ship bound for America.
First landing near the Jersey Shore and being scared for his life, St. Groundhog quickly made his way west to an unsettled area of Pennsylvania. After woodchucking a little cabin, doing a Rocky boxing training montage, drinking his first birch beer, buying a yellow Steelers towel, discussing the philosophical genius of putting french fries on a sandwich with the Primanti Brothers, planting some sour diesel, and learning how to pronounce "Mount Worshintin," a super buff Philip crudely scrawled these chilling words on a large plank as a warning to following rivals, “A Violent Welcome to Norman and the Punks Who Taunt Me.”
Norman Kardashian and his squad didn’t follow St. Groundhog to America. Instead they were run out of their village and, dishonored, began a generations-long tradition of trying on different kinds of makeup in front of mirrors and dating rappers. As such, St. Groundhog was finally able to continue his studies.
The Day that Changed History
In the summer of 1886, after most of the letters on his sign faded, human settlers stumbled upon St. Groundhog’s cabin. The sign now read, “Viol Welcom to Punks Who Taun e.” Since they had no idea what a viol was, and since they found a buff, well-read, super chill groundhog there, and since they thought it was cool-sounding, the settlers named the land, “Punxsutawney,” which roughly translates to, “hedgehogs are real jerks.”
After a scarce harvest, the settlers were worried about being able to plant the next year. Remembering that St. Groundhog’s garden was always plush and full of organic goodness at just the right times, the settlers asked Philip what his secret was. Reluctant, Philip told the settlers of his meteorological studies and workout techniques for blasting his biceps.
What happened the next morning, Wednesday, February 2nd, 1887 forever changed the course of history, and of Bill Murray’s career.
Asking politely for a demonstration, the settlers gathered in a beautiful stretch of land called Gobbler’s Knob as Philip made his way up to a crudely-constructed stage. Nudging his ultra-buff groundhog body into a hollowed-out log, Philip closed his eyes. “Okay, Big Phil. It’s time to chew some gum or predict some freakin’ weather,” he said to himself. And St. Groundhog was all out of gum.
Exiting his hollowed-out log, St. Groundhog erupted onto the stage like he was throwing open the doors to a CiCi’s Pizza. In one swift move, Philip looked out upon the crowd of at least eight people and then slowly scanned the ground for his shadow. It wasn't there. Philip's eyes glazed over as he used his tiny mammalian brain to work his trademark formula. Smirking, St. Groundhog coolly removed his sunglasses and said, “In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, winter.”
The townspeople erupted in applause and Philip finally got the recognition he deserved. His descendants, his very species, solidified their place in the history books of the world as being the very best natural weather predictors in the world, next to Jim Cantore.
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