I read this article last week about how PETA—you know those crazies, right? The ones who ask D-list “celebrities” to pose naked to encourage the rest of us who can’t afford fur to not wear fur? — wants to replace the furry Punxsutawney Phil, of Groundhog Day fame, with a robotic groundhog. They contend that he is being unfairly held captive and then (for shame) being subjected to bright lights, loud noises, and crowds (once a year, mind you). However, the article goes on to state that William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (I wonder what it’s like to be in the inner circle of the groundhog!), says the animal is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.” I grew up in Pennsylvania, he’s right. The article continues to report: “the groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.” They neglected to mention that Phil also gets to live with his lovely wife Phyllis in a local library during the rest of the year. Love, air conditioning, free medical care, doesn’t sound like a bad life to me!
I don’t know if it’s because I both grew up and went to college only an hour each from Punxsutawney, PA (yes, some people go to college only an hour away from Boston or New York City, no, not me, I went to college an hour away from the Weather Capital of the World), but I feel very passionate about this preposterous idea. Actually, no that doesn’t have anything to do with it; I’m passionate about it because who wants a bunch of robotic groundhogs running around?! It’s already terrifying enough that aliens and zombies are going to take over the world someday, I don’t need animatronic groundhogs added to the list.
And let’s be honest, folks, if Phil had been left to his own devices in the wilderness of Pennsylvania, he’d be dead already. A coyote, bear, shotgun, or pick-up would’ve ended his little life long ago. The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is doing this little guy a favor by holding him captive.
I’m sure if we could put one of those voice devices on Phil, like the one the dogs wear in Up, I’m sure his response to this whole thing would be: “Eff off, PETA. Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day!”