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Punxsutawney Phil: Has Fame Gone to His Head?

Photo of groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, behing held up by a handler for camerasOh come, let us adore him?

Punxsutawney Phil, that reclusive Garbo of groundhogshas made his prediction for 2013:

My new Knob entrance is a sight to behold
Like my faithful followers, strong and bold
And so ye faithful,
there is no shadow to see
An early Spring for you and me.
Phil sees his shadow 86% of the time, so “no shadow” is supposed to be a rare event. Yet it’s happened two of the last three years, and three of the last six. Climate change? Or is it possible that Phil just can’t be bothered to look for his shadow these days? Has he gotten a big head? Let’s check the evidence.

Photo of a big brick gate with an ironwork groundhog over the archPunxsutawney Spirit photo by Larry McGuire

Here’s that “new Knob entrance” Phil mentions: a fancy Gobbler’s Knob gateway they finished just in time for his premiere today. Phil probably demanded it in his contract. His image appears above the title, of course.

Plus now he’s name-checking his “strong and bold” followers like a Lady Gaga? (Can Groundhog claws be far behind?)

And by the way: “ye faithful”? Just who is he comparing himself to there? (Today’s pronouncement calls him “Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Weather Prophet without Peer.” All that’s missing is “and he shall reign forever and ever,” right?)

Photos of Greta Garbo and Punxsutawney Phil Side by Side

Still, if Phil is putting on movie-star airs — if he’s got the bored Greta Garbo gaze down pat — who can blame him? He drives the entire local economy, after all.

For that matter, his film Groundhog Day made it onto the National Film Registry in 2006, a year before Garbo’s Grand HotelHe’s earned his attitude.

Prediction: It’s just a phase. Phil’s handlers will talk sense into him; he can’t drop his franchise gig. “Look at Shelley Long after Cheers,” they’ll tell him. Surely he’ll be back looking for his shadow next year. Right?

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