The Groundhog Is Clueless But I Respect Him Anyway

The Groundhog Is Clueless But I Respect Him Anyway
Image:Jeff Swensen / Stringer (Getty Images)

Did you know that in the 135 years of Groundhog Day, the groundhog—Punxsutawney Phil—has only predicted a shorter winter 29 times? Yes, since 1886 when this weather prediction tradition first appeared in a Pennsylvania newspaper, the groundhogs have failed to cast a shadow—indicating an early spring—only 29 times! Am I the only one whose mind is blown by this wild ratio? This is some bullshit! But I respect Phil anyway.

Groundhog Day 2021 ended up being just like most of the others: Phil “saw his shadow,” meaning that we’ve got six more weeks of winter coming up, and judging by all the snow outside I can believe it. Of course, there’s no science validating this old world tradition, and poor Phil is usually wrong most of the time anyway. Still, was anyone else imagining more of a 50/50 split in weather predictions? Maybe it’s just hard for the little guy to cast a shadow in the dead of winter.

Regardless, my cynicism didn’t stop me from genuinely enjoying this video of Phil’s big prediction this year. PETA might have their quibbles, and it’s certainly a strange tradition (thanks, Germans), but the guys who handle Phil seem to be very gentle toward him. Doting even!


At this moment, Phil’s handler was whispering words of encouragement. He even said, “Oh, you look beautiful today!” Listen, I have a very loving partner, but there’s always room for improvement. Please, talk to me every morning like this man talks to Phil, eye crusties, stank breath, and all.


I also appreciate the fact that Phil’s handlers showed him confirmation of his own bullshit prediction. Love this level of trust and understanding!


Is he proud? Is he terrified? Is he eager to go back into his little groundhog hole and not deal with these weirdos for another year? I don’t know, and as we’ve all learned, he doesn’t seem to know much himself. Nevertheless, I respect the dude for being consistently useless for actual weather predictions and still managing to be a beloved figure who gets sweet nothings whispered in his little groundhog ears. That’s what I call job security.

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