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GHD III: Season of The Woodchuck

February 2, 2020

To the Old Believers, it was Woodchuck Season, it lasted six weeks, and it was about survival. Only with the advent of the wireless, crossword puzzles, and the abbreviation of “goodbye” to just “‘bye” (which tells you not a goddamned thing about a person’s sentiment towards you) did it became just a day, just another day to get drunk on, and then, later, not even that, a day to stay sober and forget about until someone mentions it like they might mention the birthday of a mutual acquaintance whose funeral, years later, neither of you will attend, or a funny coincidence involving the names of a neighborhood dog and a regional brand of pickles.

Hardly anyone eats rodents anymore, at least not intentionally. Or knows how to celebrate them. You can only respect an animal as much as it gives you life, or threatens to take it. What have we become? Next time you are in a pool-hall or pinewood lodge and pass by a stuffed groundhog, stop awhile and gaze into its beady little eyes. They are fake, a taxidermist’s trick like a harlot’s rouge or a comedian’s nitrous oxide. No matter. Look deep. See yourself. Your own beady-eyed rodent-faced nature. And fall down. Fall down before your image, your idol. Weep and pray before it. And ask yourself, how much wood would you chuck if you could chuck wood?

I lift my glass and toast this day, now almost passed, like every other Groundhog Day. Another one wasted, another one botched. No dressing up with furtive hope. No new smells, or forgotten colors rediscovered. No coconut for a favorite bartender. No party, though I did receive a kind and gracious invitation to a traditional country fete, where a pup was to get its very first taste of groundhog blood, with much merriment attendant I am sure. But I failed to make it there, due to the usual stones in my passway: unwise employment, poor time management skills, fear of the police, sleepiness, and, to be more speculative, the hateful glance of a jealous god.

Which leaves me here now, alone, in the dark, with a glass and a screen, wondering. How many more Groundhog Days will there will be for me? Not enough.

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