My “influence” (if I may exagerate that term to make a point) continues to spread beyond the western suburbs.
This week, I wrote a column about how disorienting it was to have the Illinois primary held on Groundhog Day instead of around St. Patrick’s Day. The primary in 2008 was bumped up to the first Tuesday in February rather than the third Tuesday in March. So the feast of Ireland’s patron saint is no longer used by politicians as a last-minute push to get their (newly) Irish-sounding name before the voters.
To quote myself: “Sprightly leprechauns collecting signatures on behalf of candidates have been replaced by temperamental woodchucks with weather charts.” I pointed out that while Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania saw his shadow last week, both Tumbleweed from Brookfield Zoo and Woodstock Willie did not see their shadow and “predicted” an early end to winter.
“Let’s hope the Prairie State’s two forecasters have the luck of the Irish with them this year, even if it’s not St. Patrick’s Day,” I concluded.
This resulted in an e-mail this morning from Ben Hughes, co-handler of the renowed Punxsutawney Phil. His e-mail reads:
“Phil and I read your recent article, and we have to admit what a better day to host a primary. But Phil only predicts the weather. He stays away from all politics, and the mere site of Glenn Beck on television sends him into convultions (no wait, that’s me, not him). We wish you the best for your fair districts, and winter will be over soon. Well, at least in six weeks. Phil is happy to get back to what he does best — resting. Maybe your politicians could spend a little time with our groundhog friend. He bites on occasion; he is all about territorial rights; he looks good on camera but sometimes creates a lot of messes. I guess they share a lot in common. So, from the weather capital of the world, Happy Groundhog Day.”
I am, by the way, taking this news as further proof that evolution is solid science. If we didn’t all share a common anscestor, would Punxsutawney Phil be able to read? I think not!
It’s nice to know my work has a growing audience, even if one new fan probably wants to chew up my newspaper column and use it as nesting. Bon appetit, mon ami.