The old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” You might actually get what you wish for, and you might find out it’s not as good as what you already have. What is even more unfortunate is when someone else wishes something for you, even pushes for these changes, but you’re actually quite happy with the way things are. This is happening right now in the life of a Western Pennsylvania icon.
Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous groundhog in the United States, and probably the entire planet. He has an entire day devoted to him, local dignitaries handle him with kid gloves and an entire town springs to life in the middle of the cold winter. Hollywood even made a movie about his special day! The media arrives at this small Pennsylvania town each February 2 just to perhaps catch a glimpse of Phil to report whether the critter has seen his shadow. Legend has it that if he does, he will be frightened by it and scamper back into his hole, dooming us to 6 more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, we can look forward to an early Spring.
This fuzzy little groundhog has it good. People love him even if he does see his shadow. He has air conditioning in the summer and a heated pen in the winter. He lives year round in the town library along with three other little buddies in a well-kept pen. His food is brought to him; he does not have to risk the wrath of Farmer Brown or any other gardener armed with BB guns.
Unfortunately, someone is trying to ruin Phil’s gig. Gemma Vaughan, an animals in entertainment specialist for PETA, wrote a letter to Phil’s handlers urging them to use a robotic rodent to replace Phil. She believes it to be “cruel” to have these shy creatures on display, adding that they get stressed when being handled by humans or facing large crowds. I wonder how she knows so much about what these critters really want?
Seems to me a pretty nice arrangement for Phil. One morning of “work” nets him some comfortable digs for the rest of the year, and it doesn’t even matter if anyone likes the results of his efforts. He and his buddies are treated like celebrities, and don’t have to risk their lives foraging for food. I think even a shy critter could warm up to the humans that take care of them like that. And I think Phil would tell PETA to stay out of his business if he could.