Seventeen days ago, Punxsutawney Phil began his annual revelation like any other, lumbering into the weak winter sunlight to be greeted by the masses who flock to Punxsutawney to witness his predictions of early or late spring. However, rather than reveal the fate of a single season, he unveiled something far greater: imminent global disaster. Groundhog Day is by far the most highly anticipated holiday in the United States and Canada, but Phil has long experienced difficulty being taken seriously due to the misconception that his predictions are pointless, insubstantial, or based in pure pseudoscience or superstition — until now. “While I liked to humor him as to not hurt his feelings, I never thought he was capable of predicting anything significant. Now I know better,” one bystander said.
On Feb. 2, for the first time in approximately 2.58 million years, Phil cast not only a shadow but a complete solar eclipse — signaling, according to Dutch scientific theory dating back to the 19th century, a catastrophic climate crisis. “I’m quite pleased with the outcome this year, even if it is unfortunate,” said Punxsutawney Phil himself, eager to comment. “Things are finally looking up for me.” Indeed, Phil has confessed to having been oppressed, overworked, grossly underpaid, and imprisoned for the last 132 years in a small zoo alongside a female groundhog called “Phyllis,” his designated “wife” in an arranged marriage by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Appropriately, in light of his prediction Phil has been relocated to a private suite in the White House — which, of course, has been renamed “the Woodchuck House” — where his scientific expertise can be fully utilized and appreciated in a time of crisis. It goes without saying that the rodent will be inaugurated as president next January.
Climate change deniers of all walks of life have finally embraced the reality of the crisis, and humbly hail Punxsutawney Phil as the prophet of divine truth. President Donald Trump has expressed that it is an honor to share the Woodchuck House with such an accomplished marmot. “We apologize for the lack of support the government has shown Phil and his Climate Allies. This remarkable Woodchuck has opened my Eyes to the gravity of this situation. I couldn’t see the Truth until now. He is an Asset to his Country,” President Trump declared in a tweet to the nation on Feb. 3. On new radio show “Woodchuck Words of Wisdom,” Phil has been showered with tearful adoration from guests, enlightened by Phil, who are humiliated by their previous skepticism of both climate change and Groundhog Day.
Simultaneously, Phil’s prediction has put the entire scientific community to shame, and many climatologists and other scientists have resigned in droves, relinquishing their titles to the now-revered groundhog. “I am completely and utterly ashamed that I could have ever doubted him,” confessed a prominent Earth Science professor at an Ivy League university. “In the name of science, I’m changing my name to Punxsutawney Phil. He deserves it. Everything I do now is in his honor. We failed him.” Others have abandoned their lives completely. “Here I was, thinking I was adequate after a stupid little doctoral degree in Climate Science from Harvard University,” said one dejected climatologist who has promptly sold his home to live in a tent on a river bank. “When all along there are groundhogs like Phil who just have hundreds of times more expertise. I just can’t compete.”
Phil is currently working with — or rather, leading — all major environmental and climate organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United Nations Environment Programme, and his leadership has been met with enthusiasm outside of North America. “I haven’t experienced the honor of meeting him yet,” confessed the leader of a foreign European country. “But any marmot with the advanced knowledge to predict something so significant should never have been kept in the dark for this long.”