Following is an abbreviated Reuters news story filed at 12:08 pm ET on February 2, 2010. Disclaimer: Reuters I’m a lowly but honest scribe with barely a farthing to my anonymous name, so please don’t sue me, okay?
I have edited this news story with care expressly for the use of the Lame Adventures readership (especially if they’re reading this while at work and do not have a lot of time to kill on this site).
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – An American groundhog delivered his annual weather prediction on Tuesday, declaring that there will be six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow.
Dubbed “Punxsutawney Phil,” the rodent made his forecast in front of about 12,000 people who came from as far as Chile and the Netherlands to see the 124-year-old tradition in 18 degree Fahrenheit (-8 degrees Celsius) temperatures.
John Martin, 63, a retired engineer, said he drove 350 miles from his home in Sardinia, Ohio, to witness the event for the fifth time in 10 years.
Martin, who came to Punxsutawney on his own, said it was hard to explain to his friends and neighbors why he should drive so far to attend the ceremony in the dark and cold.
“They think I’m crazy,” he said.
Dear Mr. Martin,
First, I hope you made the 350-mile return trip home to Sardinia safely in the frigid and icy conditions that have been so predominant this winter. If your choice of vehicle is a pedal car, I hope it is equipped with Bridgestone tires. If not, I hope you’re insured with All State, since Dennis Haysbert is a much less annoying spokesman than either Geico’s cockney accented gecko or the cave men.
Second, please listen closer to your friends and neighbors. They have a valid point about your mental state. You’re in denial. You need help, now and fast. This is not a lame adventure. This is mental illness, not quite on the order of hotdog eating contests or pole sitting, but, and I mean this as a dedicated lame adventuress, you have a screw loose. Possibly more than one, and some wing nuts might need tightening, too.
It has occurred to me that you might not listen much to your friends and neighbors because you’re 63 and when you were twenty or so years younger, you were visiting your best friend at work whose name happens to be Ling and the company photographer.
Let’s just say it was a sweltering summer’s day and you were talking to Ling in the company photo room about the heat and ice cream and your mother. You told Ling that in the schoolyard your mother forbade you from getting a frozen eight inch long artificially flavored fruit and sugar bomb Popsicle referred to by the alternating names, Big Stick or Missile. Your mother feared you would run like a Cirque du Soleil-inspired maniac in the schoolyard while yielding a Big Stick or Missile, trip and fall because you’re terribly uncoordinated, poke your eye out with the aforementioned Big Stick or Missile, resulting in your blindness, and need to wear an eye patch, since glass eyes were too costly, because your father, albeit “a good earner,” did not make a mint of money like Sammy Davis, Jr., even though your father had a tendency to spontaneously sing What Kind of Fool Am I at the top of his lungs when he read your report cards.
If you were a half-blind girl, you would never gain admittance to a top notch college, say NYU, earn a top notch degree, say Film and TV, and then find yourself on the far side of landing a top notch job, say secretary at the phone company, since your mother deemed a film school degree frivolous and feared if you pursued one you might find yourself in midlife, burned out, and working as a low level office functionary overseeing the labeling of floor tile samples and asking yourself daily during the occasional sober moment, “How did this happen?”
Ling asks, “So, do you want to go out and grab an ice cream or what?” Before you can say, “yeah,” a bulb in the light stand next to your right ear bursts, and voila! You’re partially deafened in that ear, and incapable of hearing your friends and neighbors as they ardently try to knock sense into your half-deaf head twenty or so years later.
Now you’re 63-years-old and you can’t hear your friends and neighbors say, “John, you’re acting like a lunatic. You’re seriously going to drive 350 miles to see that rodent again? What the hell is it with you, man? Sardinia is the laughingstock of Ohio because of you. The media’s picked up on this. We look like fools. Don’t you get it? Punxsutawney Phil is a myth on the order of the Easter Bunny, but without that level of cache in the greeting card industry. Winter is here. It’s not going anywhere. Jesus Christ, John, get real. If you want to do something meaningful in your golden years, drive three and a half miles to an animal shelter and adopt a pet. And please, a thousand times no, not a groundhog.”
Unfortunately, you can’t hear them, can you, John? Hopefully, this letter will reach you and next year, you and Woollcott, your adopted Bassetoodle, will watch 2011’s Groundhog Day ceremony on TV in the comfort and warmth of your home. You’ll tousle his fur and chuckle, “Oh Wooly, I used to stand in that crowd with those crazy Chileans and Netherlandians, but now we’re man and beast together.” Wooly will turn to you with devoted eyes, lick your hand and then give you the look that says, “Take me for a walk now or else I’ll crap on your rug.”
Lame Adventures Woman