Saturday was fantastic. I popped out of bed bright and early, sat down at the drawing table, and pencilled ten rows before heading upstairs for breakfast. After breakfast I inked eight of them. Then I had lunch, a birthday party for my three-year-old daughter, and a trip to the gym. Before 5pm I was back home inking the last of those ten rows. In one day the buffer climbed from 35 to that magical answer-number 42. Exactly six weeks of inked Schlock stand between you and the hiatus or late strip we're all so deathly afraid of.
Monday morning for Phil was lousy. The town brass in Punxatawny dragged this poor hibernating critter out of his hole to check for shadows, and ascertained that we're in for six more weeks of winter. This tradition stems from a germanic one which says that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Candlemas (February 2nd), spring is still six weeks out.
The key words there are "hibernating animal." Poor Phil! Where's PETA when you really NEED them? Monday morning my now-three-years-old daughter bounced up and down on my bed saying "It's morning time, Daddy!" Precious though that was, another 20 minutes of sleep would have been nicer. Phil, on the other hand, gets awakened with something like 20 more DAYS of sleep coming to him. At a MINIMUM. All so some local yokel can see if the sun is shining, a measurement which I'm almost POSITIVE can be performed without the help of a hibernating animal.
Let's get back to the roots of the tradition and make "Groundhog Day" more interesting. It can be ANY hibernating animal, right? Let's do it in Yosemite, and use a silver-tipped Kodiak Grizzly. We can even name him "Phil." Chase him out of his cave, and if the sun is shining clearly enough for him to cast a shadow (and see who's poking him so he can make with the grizzly-style mauling) we'll know how far spring is, and whether or not to call 911.
Who's with me? (I'll be waiting back here watching the hot drinks. You go first.)