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Sunday, March 26, 2023

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It’s Groundhog Day… Again, and Again, and Again and Again


Thursday before last, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow— thereby indicating there would be six more weeks of winter.

However, history tells us we should not take the titular celebrity groundhog’s forecasting at face value. Plus, today’s forecast in Lake Ronkonkoma is upwards of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so, how wintery is the season that’s just one year and change removed from a Super Bowl Sunday snowstorm?

The Day

Stormfax Almanac data shows that multiple Phil variants’ six-week prognostications, under the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce’s watch, have been correct only 39% of the time. And yet, the modern iteration of the old Pennsylvania Dutch superstition is trusted by the general populace more often than the word of accredited weathermen, and newsmen in general.

No matter what the Groundhog had to say with where it swayed, there is no denying that on the local front especially, give or take a few cold fronts, there has still barely been any snow.

Are we complaining? Heavens no. We’re just reiterating that one man’s winter is another’s most welcomed windchill— a breeze to set you at ease.

On this note, at what point does the threat of six more weeks of winter better mean six more weeks of categorically grueling temperatures that are conditioning you to tap into a prolonged, seasonally depressive mindset you could have shaken otherwise?

No, snow has stayed away, as if to say, “hey, we see that COVID killed the Snow Day Star, so we’re only coming around when we can be appreciated.”

The Film

The late Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day (1993) time-loops the yearly occasion into much more than a sci-fi premise, but a philosophical reminder that regardless of what the day brings— we make of it what we can get out of it.

Interestingly enough, Groundhog Day also theatrically released wide in theaters 30 years ago this past Sunday, February 12, rather than on or closer to February 2. Per the plot parameters of the film, perhaps this was the point?

Whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow, there’s people like Bill Murray’s meteorologist lead Phil Connors who will run wild with a video game or cat’s half-life until he’s no longer missing the point. We manifest our own destiny. Our fate is not determined by a rodent, no matter how surreptitiously cute or endearing it presents itself to be.

The Lifestyle

The film’s primary conceptual arguments invite audiences to confront their own crisis of being— that going through the motions is universal. We’ve all reached that rut, that point of no return where we couldn’t be further from “Carpe Diem” day-seizing if we tried.

Everyday becomes Groundhog Day, meaning, everyday becomes a day where someone else is writing our script, because we can’t while we’re on autopilot. We wish for an eighth day of the week where we can catch up on what we’ve missed, and get ahead of what’s next so we won’t miss a moment of personal or professional progress ever again.

And yet, we continue to shut down at the end of our daily clock-out, because that’s what we’re programmed to do when we follow the human nature model— especially when our seasonal depression hangs over us like a black cloud throughout the “winter” months.

Did the groundhog see it? Did he not see it? It’s irrelevant. Use this occurrence as your reminder that you’re a month and a day removed from all those resolutions that weren’t totally resolved in 32 days— and then admit to yourself that that’s OK. Because today is a brand new day.

It’s February 3. Then it’s February 16. Then it’s April 20 and so on. It’s any day you want it to be. “Dry January” doesn’t have to just mean January, and “New Year, New Me” doesn’t mean you can’t share the improved you with others who are locked in on improving as well.

No one is ordering you to do the same thing every solitary day, so don’t. Recognize the arrival of the good times roll montage does not hinge upon whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow. It relies on you escaping your own by leaving it in the rearview where it belongs. For when it rains, it pours…

…and when it snows again, don’t mope. Grab a shovel to get the arms flowing and let the light back in.

That is the Message. Don’t throw a snowball at The Messenger— especially since there’s none around for the taking.

The Editorial Board
The Editorial Boardhttps://www.messengerpapers.com
The Messenger Papers Editorial Board aspires to represent a fair cross section of our Suffolk County readers. We work to present a moderate view on issues facing Long Island families and businesses.