The world needs Groundhog Day more than ever

Mr. Fleckenstein, Newspaper adviser & Punxsy native

Mr. Fleck, his son & his friend, trek home from Gobbler’s Knob in 2020.

 “You’re missing all the fun. These people are great. Some of them have been partying all night  long. They sing songs till they get too cold then they go sit by the fire to get warm, and then they come back and sing some more.”     

These lines from Andie McDowell in 1993 movie Groundhog Day sum up my experience with America’s favorite holiday. I’ve experienced the holiday as both a native, a college reveler, and now a returning adult with my own kids. Every year we try to celebrate this bizarre holiday and pay homage to Phil and my hometown. The holiday is strange, odd, disturbing and confusing. Yet, we NEED Groundhog Day today more than ever.

You see, we live in a world where everyone loves to poke and prod at others and lash out with staunch opinions and diatribes about what is wrong with this world. You turn on the television and you see cable news fighting with each other about immigration or Ukraine or school boards banning books or the indoctrination of children or how every decision Tomlin and the Steelers make is dead wrong or or Taylor Swift ruining the Super Bowl. 

You see, everyone has an opinion. Not just an opinion, but a resolute, unflappable paradigm from which they see the world. Everything is viewed through this lens, clouting and distorting every bit of information that is filtered through one’s head.     

You see, the word of the day is attack. Attack one’s beliefs, attack one’s appearance, and attack one another. We can’t stop ourselves. The media frenzy of attack has been set down a path of no return. It’s now hard wired in our DNA.

And so, that’s why we need this holiday. It’s hard to make fun of something that makes fun of itself. Groundhog Day has become an almost ironic parody of itself. And we need this.

Author David Foster Wallace once said: “Irony has no redemptive qualities in and of itself. It can point out problems and deconstruct things, but offers no solutions.”  Perhaps that’s what we need–a world with no solutions. Wallace feels that people deconstruct things because they have a “fear of really being human.”

“Yeah, they’re hicks, Rita!” And these hicks and this world need Groundhog Day now more than ever. 

Maybe that’s what we need to revel in–this idea we have no solutions and we need to stop being so afraid of a world that is different than our steadfast opinions. Maybe we need to just make fun of ourselves and our resoluteness because we need to step back, turn down the attack, and worship that groundhog.

After all, Bill Murray responds to Andie McDowell’s enthusiasm and sincerity by saying: “Yeah, they’re hicks, Rita!” And these hicks and this world need Groundhog Day now more than ever. 

     “All hail groundhog supremacy!”

(in true “Groundhog Day” style this article publishes every year on this day, over and over again)