It is February 2, Groundhog Day, the day North Americans believe a rodent will emerge from its burrow and tell them when Spring will arrive. I don’t believe it. That is because I used to be a groundhog.
Before you wonder about my sanity or spirituality, I should say it has nothing to do with karma or reincarnation. I portrayed a groundhog in my very first radio appearance, on this date 40 years ago. Or maybe it was 41 – my memory is a little hazy.
I do remember it was a slow day on Special Blend, the morning program on Ottawa’s CKCU-FM. I think a number of interview subjects had canceled and there was airtime that needed filling. I was volunteering at the station, but had not been on air at that point.
I suggested to the producer that, given the date, an interview with one of the many groundhogs that lived on the Carleton University campus would be appropriate. Since everyone knows groundhogs tend to be inarticulate, I offered to write the script. For some reason (desperation?) she accepted my offer. The show host would do the interview and I would act the part of the groundhog.
I probably still have the script in a box somewhere, I don’t think it is the sort of thing I would throw out. After all, it was a career milestone, though I have never again been called on to do a groundhog impersonation. I still do some radio work.
I hope the interview was funny. That was my intention as I wrote it, but I have discovered over the years that my sense of humour is not always appreciated. I’d give some examples of what I said as a groundhog so you could decide, but I don’t remember any of it. Probably just as well.
What does that have to do with weather prognostication? Absolutely nothing. I would argue though that groundhogs have no more expertise in this matter than I did when I pretended to be a groundhog.
So whichever of the weather-predicting rodents you follow, this much is true.
If the groundhog sees his or her shadow, you can expect six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, there will be an early spring it will just feel like winter.
Take it from me, I know. After all, I used to be a groundhog.