When I heard that stupid groundhog forecast six more weeks of winter (not that it’s been a bad one), I knew I had to repost this article I wrote for The Smartly last year.
According to his agent, Phil had been pushing for a rain check on the Groundhog Day festivities because of the impending blizzard, the brunt of which was due to hit Punxsutawney early February 2nd.
“Look,” said Phil’s agent about his late client, “Phil was older than dirt, and he and Phyllis had been living in a climate controlled tank at the Punxsutawney Public Library for the past twenty years. Only way he’d come out on February second anymore was if we agreed to set him up in a heated burrow underneath a fake tree stump.”
Phil, who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, had been under an incredible amount of strain this year to forecast an early spring.
“He had access to newspapers and free Internet over at the library,” said his agent, “So he knew it was going to be bad out there pretty early on. I think the stress and cold just did him in.”
Witnesses report mass confusion on the scene in Punxsutawney Wednesday when Phil collapsed. “Evrathing seemed normal at first,” noted Chuck Wagner of Scranton. “He crawled on out and looked around. And I sez to my wife Dottie, I sez ‘Dottie, I bet he done seen his shadow.’”
But shortly thereafter with microphones and cameras from all the major new outlets trained on him, Punxsutawney Phil keeled over and didn’t get up again. “At first we thought it was just another publicity stunt,” Wagner noted. “Some folks started booing and I heard a fella behind me yell for him to “man up.”
Phil was rushed by ambulance to Punxsutawney Area Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Punxsutawney Phil is survived by his wife, Phyllis, and one nephew – Pittsburgh Pete, who has no plans to take over his late great uncle’s responsibilities upon graduation from meteorology school this spring. “I have interviews lined up with CNN and the Weather Channel,” Pittsburgh Pete stated. “No way am I going to spend my career doing hit and miss forecasting from a g-damned hole.”
A public memorial service is planned next Saturday at Gobbler’s Knob. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to give donations to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund.)Did you like this? Subscribe to the blog. (It's free!)