Earthpig Day, Fibucetera 2, 40 A.B.

     So, Earthpig Day is here again.  Seems like it was only yesterday that we were all last gathered around the ol' holy hole in the ground, anxiously awaiting the return of He Who Knows What Is To Be. 
     How high our hopes were as we waited! 
     What strong a bond our mutual anticipation did make! 
     I think we would be waiting in rapt silence still had not our fearless leader used a heavily gloved hand to hasten things along when He proved to be more than a little tardy. 
     Southern Baptists, take note. 

     This year, of course, things are different. 
     For the first time in a thousand years, the most sacred day of the entire woodchuck calendar is being observed in a new millennium.
     And for the first time, ever, the creature many consider the One True Earthpig, Puxatawney Phil, will be working as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL-Time Warner.
     If he sees his shadow, it'll mean 6 more weeks of snowy-minded hype about  the many, many advantages soon to flow from concentrating all our sources of information in the hands of one company. 
     If he doesn't see his shadow, it won't mean that his shadow isn't there, oh ye of little faith - it'll probably only mean that Phil's WebCam is incompatible with his video card.
     Look for things to be all straightened out in time for Phil to watch the AOL-Time Warner Easter Bunny's limo whiz by as he hurries to make his first annual appearance exclusively on HBO.

     All of which has got me to thinking that there's probably a few odd people out there who prefer the old days and the old ways, if only because not everyone yet has cable.
     Which explains - and maybe even excuses - what I did to my cat this morning.

     "Okay, Jester, just a bit more tape on your ears and I think you'll be ready for the hole."
     "Hole?  I don't do holes.  Mice do holes.  I do cream. Didn't I write this down for you once?  Didn't I even say there'd be a test?  OUCH!  LEAVE MY EARS ALONE!"
     "Sorry, Jess, but earthpigs don't have pointy cat ears and the media people are gonna be here any minute, so deal.  You'll have all the cream you can lap tomorrow."
     "Why don't you just use a staple gun, why don'tcha?!"
     "I'm out of staples.  Just sit still.  There!  Now let's fluff that tail."
     "YEOW!  What was that - a CURLING IRON??"
     "Sorry - confused it with the blowdryer.  Now sit still."
     "That hole you're talking about better have central heat AND a waterbed with satin sheets like you said or there's gonna be trouble - you hear me?!"
     "Honestly, Jess, here I am, unselfishly slaving away to make you a local media star as well as a bona fide meteorological prophet and all you're giving me is grief." 
     "Hey, I'M the one who's expected to see or not see his shadow, bucko - remember?  I'm the one who has to convince everyone the whole thing hasn't been rigged and carefully rehearsed for hours ahead of time just so no one walks away disappointed.  Everything depends on ME ME ME.  Which is a good thing since if it depended on that lousy script you wrote, it'd be all over, I'm telling ya."
     "That reminds me - we better go over it one more time."
     "Oh, geez...."
     "The crowd gathers.  The anticipation builds.  Slowly, you stick a cute little nose out of your hole.  Slowly, you show your head.  Suddenly, you notice the ground around you.  Surprise, angst, sorrow, rage, confusion, shock, and finally bliss play across your face as your little front paws claw at the sky as if busily gleaning understanding from heaven itself!"
     "Just like I do when I discover my bowl's empty."
     "Right.  And then, as your paws freeze in mid-clawing and a look of divine realization spreads across your face, you turn to the camera and say....?"
     "YOU TURN to the camera and say...??"
     "Ummmmmmm....  LINE!"
     "Doh!  You say 'I see my shadow!  I do!  Whoohooo!'"
     "Wait.  I thought I said something along the lines of, 'No shadow??  Fuck this shit - I'm outa here!'"
     "No, that was the first draft.  This is better."
     "Because you kept saying 'truck' instead of 'fuck' before I changed it."
     "It's just that I've always tried to work clean, you know?  I'd feel awful if some kitten watching me on TV started yelling 'Fuck!' into the night sky instead of caterwauling as nature intended."
     "Just play it as it was written this time, ok?!"
     "I'll do my best, Shakespeare."
     "Ok, so.  You come out of your hole - nose, face, head, yadda yadda yadda with the clawing, and then....?"
     "Boy, this looks like a good place for a Stick Up!"
     "Just kidding!  Just kidding!  Really, you're such a sucker sometimes."
     "Here - let me show you how it's done before you really mess it up!"
     "Hey - what are you doing?!  You can't fit in that hole!  You're gonna knock over my jacuzzi if ya do!  HEY!"
     "Just watch and learn, Jess.  Just watch and learn."
     "Honestly, I'd love to but there seems to be a news truck coming up the drive.  Think it's time for me to go do my eyeliner."
     "News truck?!  But it's not time yet!"
     "Oh, don't sweat it.  I hear they actually only use reality as a rough guide for what they tape in the studio with professional actors later, anyway."
     "Well, I hope the cats of those professional actors know how to help their owners get their foot out of a hole when it doesn't seem to want to come out!"
     "Yikes!  Bet it's not your foot but that swollen ego of yours again.  Well, fuck this shit - I'm outa here!  Well, in a sec, anyway."
     "Could you say that again, Sir?  Tape was rolling but I didn't have the microphone plugged in yet."

     Hope your Earthpig Day went even better.

Back To The Hanging Up Of Our 
Stockings On Earthpig Eve


Forward To The Day After Earthpig Day
When Everyone Gets To Exchange The
Forecast For One That They Want

(©Now by Dan Birtcher, oddly in absentia)


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