Madison Walker from the Shanksville-Stonycreek High School had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with world famous, weather prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, while he was in training for Groundhog Day on February 2. Special translation was necessary from the Inner Circle, due to Phil only being fluent in Groundhogese. Therefore, some detail may be lost in translation. Excerpts from the interview can be found below:
Q: How did you receive this job? Was there an application process?
Phil:There was most definitely an application process, and it was quite treacherous! While on one of my morning strolls I saw “Help Wanted” signs posted all over the forest by the Holiday Guardians Union. I decided it sounded like a good job for me. Secretly, I was hoping to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but I guess the boss had a different vision for my future. When I went for the interview I was told they would create a holiday just for me, Groundhog’s Day, so I was ok not being Santa or the Easter Bunny.
Q: What were your credentials that qualified you to be Punxy Phil?
Phil:I am not your average Groundhog, I have accomplished many things in my life. The one accomplishment I am most proud of is receiving my degree in meteorology from the University of Ground Hole. So having a background in predicting the weather, allowed me to predict the forecast for Groundhog’s Day.
Q: Countless people look to you to determine if there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring, do you ever feel pressure?
Phil: Yeah, there are for sure times when I step out in front of the crowd and the pressure gets to me. I, alone, am looked to as the deciding factor in whether to retire the bulky winter coat, and replace it with a light jacket. Not only will my decision affect outfit choice, but I will set the mood for the entire year. It goes without mentioning that I am not capable of pleasing everyone, some like the winter, other are awaiting the warmth of spring.
Q: Since the president of the Groundhog Club is the only one who can interpret your language, does it ever get lonely?
Phil: Occasionally I do wish I had a friend; someone that knows and understands me. I always think about how different I am from all the other animals of the forest, but i’m reminded that I have a wonderful gift of predicting the weather that most animals don’t have! Loneliness is just a small price I have to pay to be the famous “Punxsutawney Phil”. My wife, Phyllis, understands me on a much deeper level which usually fills the void. We communicate through love instead of voice.
Q: Are you part of the Holiday Guardians Union with Santa and the Easter Bunny? Or do you get ignored?
Phil: At times, I do feel slightly ignored by the other Holiday workers. They get big heads by all the commercials and advertisements targeting their special days. Even though my holiday isn’t as popular as the rest of the Guardians holiday’s are, I am still a part of the Holiday Guardians Union, and work as hard as any other Holiday Guardian does.
Q: Your special day is in February, along with Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, do you feel as though your day is “swept under the rug”?
Phil: I feel honored above all else. My day is place within the same month as two of the greatest presidents in history as well as Valentine’s Day, which is such a lovely holiday. Groundhog’s Day is at the beginning of the month and the other two are placed in the middle, so I feel that the days are spaced out enough that there will be no jealousy between the holidays.
Q: What is your favorite holiday, besides Groundhog Day?
Phil: Its tough to have a favorite holiday other than your own but, Valentine’s Day comes in as my second favorite. Who doesn’t love a day where everyone is smiling and cheerful?! The 14th of February brings out the best in people.