Though Punxsutawney Phil may serve as the world’s most famous groundhog, drawing crowds of thousands to his hometown of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, serving as the catalyst for a Bill Murray romcom, and making millions of people around the globe let out a collective “oh, I forgot it was Groundhog Day” come February 2, we, as a culture have been in denial for way too long — Punxsutawney Phi Punx-ing sucks.
Why, you may ask? For one, he’s a f—king liar.
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day.— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 1, 2024
As tradition goes, Punxsutawney Phil will predict six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow. pic.twitter.com/toCtd8L3p0
The occasionally faulty forecast is generally forgivable — after all, meteorologists are essentially psychics — yet our furry friend (or should we say mortal foe) takes inaccuracy to new heights. A five-day forecast will be right about 90 percent of the time, a figure that drops to 80 percent for a seven-day forecast and down to about 50 percent for a ten-day forecast, according to resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Phil’s odds, however, are far worse than either of these metrics, at accurately predicting whether or not we’re in for an early spring 39% of the time, according to Stormfax Almanac. His odds are worse than that of a coin toss.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. “He’s just a little guy!”
While it may be unethical to place the entire fate of the weather system within his tiny paws, he should take said responsibility in stride. In 1941, Phil was evidently so over the whole Groundhog Day thing that he refused to step foot out of his burrow until “late afternoon,” per the Associated Press, forcing his loyal fans to weather cold, Pennsylvania weather just to get his mediocre predictions.
But beyond his knack for inaccuracy and his diva-like behavior that would put Beyoncé, Cher, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguleria all to shame, his true identity poses several increasingly alarming questions about the ethics of what it means to be alive.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s official website, Phil has been solely responsible for predicting spring’s arrival since 1886, allegedly relying on a magical "elixir of life” sipped every summer to keep him kicking.
This on its own is fairly dubious, but even if Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is telling the truth, their possession and apparent misuse of such a world-altering potion poses several alarming quandaries.
Literally a fraud pic.twitter.com/ufLEa3pjnn— Jackson Weimer (@jweimermedia) February 1, 2024
Aside from the basic questions of why not use this to prolong human lives, cure disease etc., one can’t help but wonder, does Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog with questionable levels of sentience and even more questionable meteorology skills genuinely want the joys and burdens that come with immortality?
The average groundhog lives an average of two to three years in the wild and up to 14 in captivity, per PBS. To force Punxsutawney Phil to endure the pain and torture of watching generation after generation of friends and lovers and family perish over and over and over again without his explicit permission or consent is on some level, a cruel fate.
Maybe that’s why he’s usually wong. Because he hates all of us for what we selfish humans have done to him in pursuit of what? Tradition? Bad meteorology? A media frenzy of our own design?
But regardless of what truly drives our motivations of tuning in every February 2, one thing is certain — dude needs a f—king sabbatical.