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The hole truth

1/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

OPRAH: Phil, I’m happy you could be with us tonight.

PHIL: It’s my pleasure, Oprah. I want to get everything out in the open, even if it means facing the harsh light of day.

OPRAH: Well, then, let’s get to the reason you’re here. On Feb. 2, 2012, you emerged from your hole and, to quote the Washington Post, “Groundhog Phil saw his shadow in the little town of Punxsutawney, Pa.” Seeing your shadow — that meant no early spring, right?

PHIL: Yes, Oprah. That is correct.

OPRAH: Hmmm. No early spring. Shall I remind you of what it was like last February and March? How many high-temperature records were broken? How many snowplows were converted to ice cream trucks, how many toboggan runs were retrofitted with Slip ’n Slides?

PHIL: Well, in my defense, Oprah, I said spring wasn’t around the corner. I never said anything about summer.

OPRAH: What do you say to the clothing stores that stocked up on wool hats and scarves because of your forecast? Or the cities that ordered extra road salt? What do you say to people who booked expensive Caribbean vacations to escape the oncoming “snow-pocalypse?”

PHIL: I feel awful about it, Oprah, but it wasn’t my fault. I was a victim of a hoax. It turns out it wasn’t my shadow.

OPRAH: Really. Then whose shadow was it?

PHIL: I don’t know, Oprah. The hoaxer’s, I guess. Looking back, maybe it wasn’t a shadow at all. It could have been some black construction paper made to look like a shadow. I’m not the most observant fellow.

OPRAH: Why would anyone impersonate your shadow? Who would gain from it?

PHIL: I dunno. L.L. Bean? Jealous woollybears? Climate-change deniers? Only the shadow knows, as they say.

OPRAH: So, what now? What are your plans?

PHIL: I’m gonna lay low, Oprah. I turned down an Animal Planet reality show and “Dancing with the Marmots.” My primary goal right now is to rebuild my reputation.

OPRAH: Will you be back in Punxsutawney on Feb. 2?

PHIL: Definitely, Oprah. My Twitter fiancée wouldn’t have it any other way.

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