Happy Big Ugly Rodent Day!
As I have always been a fan of the irrational and ridiculous, Groundhog's Day has always been one of my favorite pointless holidays. Asking a primitive-brained mammal to forecast weather is like asking my brother (another primitive-brained mammal) to analyze my stock portfolio.* Of course, if I were going to offer a full comparison, I'd invite Fox News over to the house with TV cameras to tape the excitement... during which, of course, my neighbors would be dancing around on my front lawn and passing out in the snow.
(Given that 90% of my neighbors are over the age of 75, there could be 9-1-1 calls and upsetting lawsuits to follow.)
Also, asking Punxsutawney Phil or Buckeye Chuck or Sockittome Sam** to assure me Spring is only a couple weeks away is laughable. With the exception of last year (the never-to-be-forgotten "Year Without Winter"), spring NEVER comes early to Northeast Ohio. When that over-bloated groundhog (beaver, squirrel, sea otter - would we really notice the difference?) predicts "six more weeks of winter," most Clevelanders will pray he honestly means it. "Really? Only six weeks? It'll all be over in March? Do we dare to dream the dream?"
Speaking of delusional dreaming ...
The Super Bowl is tomorrow. For folks in Baltimore and San Francisco... and New Orleans ... Green Bay ... Indianapolis ... Pittsburgh ... Boston ... Denver ... and at least 10 other cities ... it's the pinnacle of reality television. For sports fans in Cleveland, it's like watching science fiction. I would expect to see Darth Vader herding Ewoks down Ronald Drive before ever watching the Browns scoring touchdowns in February.
My sister, Barbara, lives in San Francisco, and hasn't stopped bitching about her team since Christmas. Every time they'd win a game, she'd call me up and begin every conversation with, "Well, the fucking 49ers won again." She obviously hates football. And when she says stuff like this, I tell her I'd hate her if I didn't love her so much. I try to explain to her that saying this to me would be like me telling a starving, homeless guy how much I hate lobster.*** But, I do get her point ... San Francisco is glutted with crazy people**** on a good day, so a major sporting event in their tiny little town resembles the day the power failed in Jurassic Park and all the dinosaurs got out. For somebody just trying to go to work or shop at the grocery, it's a commuter's worst nightmare. So, I kinda get why she's annoyed. But here in Cleveland, we'd weep with joy over the prospect of being thusly inconvenienced because, dammit, we never win ANYTHING. All of our sports teams universally suck. If a nationwide competition would be held to see which town's sport franchises suck most consistently, that's one championship we'd have a shot at actually winning. Cleveland's really a wonderful little city with a lot going for it, but decades of losing have polluted Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River with rolling fumes of inadequacy and inferiority. Seriously ... if you stand next to either one and close your eyes, you can hear the voices floating in off the water ... particularly Stillwell Angel's from "A League of Their Own" chanting, "You're gonna lose! You're gonna lose!"
Consequently, I won't be watching the Super Bowl. To me it's like being a chubby, pimple-faced high school girl being invited to watch the quarterback nail the head cheerleader (right after he spits on me and makes canine references). Fun? Not so much. And I don't care about missing the commercials because ... well ... I won't. If they're any good, they'll be on YouTube five seconds after they air. And nobody misses pizza, wings and beer in Cleveland because, c'mon, you can't miss something that's always around. What's special about any of that in this town? You and I both know I just described a typical Friday night. Or Saturday night. Or Sunday night. (But never during the week, because that's when we exist on donuts and french fries). Just like San Francisco now has to deal with Green Police who lurk around at night checking everybody's trash bins for recycling violations, I predict Cleveland will someday have Grease Police who knock on our doors to make sure we're all eating something green.
So ... what will I be watching? Why, Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl", of course! Every year I watch stupid young animals romping around on a green surface playing tug of war with a toy while smacking each other in the butt... and then I change the channel to watch the puppies instead. I'm especially a big fan of the annual "Kitty Halftime Show." It's good, wholesome entertainment without all the bad lip-synching, wardrobe malfunctions and goofy explosions that make the usual halftime shows so worth missing.
You say I'm wasting my time? Watching a bunch of puppies peeing in the red zone? (While some lucky guy in a referee uniform throws a yellow flag, holds up a little dog and announces there's been a personal foul on the field? Ha ha ha ... I chortle every time!)
Yeah, maybe it's a huge waste.
But c'mon ... my TV is on this morning, and I just saw a bunch of old guys in top hats holding up an obese marmot and telling us all spring is coming early this year. If I'm going to waste my time, at least let it be on something that is cute, warm, fuzzy and loveable in a universe that is almost never any of those things.
*"(Grunt) ... Hey ... this is your Brother Bill ... You need to buy more beer."
**I made that one up. I think. Practically every state has their own, so I can't possibly keep track of them all. I don't think they have groundhogs in Hawaii ... maybe somebody in a grass skirt just holds up a pineapple? I'll bet a pineapple would be a lot smarter than a groundhog. Or my brother.
***Actually, I don't hate lobster. I love lobster. In fact, one of the many reasons I'm single is because I never met a man I loved more than a dead lobster, or who treated me better than a dead lobster.
**** Go ahead ... visit this link and tell me all their silly green technology hasn't rotted their brains: