Culture

Ore. Sheriff Warns Punxsutawney Phil — Invest in 'Some Security'

YouTube screenshot of Phil (Bill Murray) stealing Punxsutawney Phil.

Thursday is Groundhog Day, and America waits expectantly for the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the titular groundhog who will tell us whether or not we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. But an Oregon sheriff has important news for the prognosticating rodent: he should invest in “some security.”

“I’m writing to pass along some info which may have some bearing on your upcoming big day,” a spokesman for the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Tuesday. “I don’t want to call it a credible threat, per se, so much as just fair warning.”

The sheriff’s office explained why some people might be emotionally invested in Phil’s prediction. “As you may or may not be aware, we in the PNW [Pacific NorthWest] have been the recipients of a heavier than normal winter,” the post explained. “Some have expressed that they are ‘over it’. Their words, not mine. Anyway, I overheard a conversation yesterday, wherein one young fellow asked his friend if he knew what groundhog tasted like.”

To make matters worse, “this conversation occurred just after the forecast for later this week was released.” In Hood River, Oregon, the forecast is a high of 31 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 21 degrees — not exactly balmy — on Thursday, and it’s even worse for Friday: snow, with a high of 27 degrees and a low of 25 degrees. Ouch!

This bleak report might have understandably biased some Hood River residents against the prognosticating rodent’s possible report, for six more weeks of winter. But that only happens if Phil sees his shadow and turns back into his pen, and the Mid-Atlantic — where the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is — has had a comparatively mild winter. Despite being all the way across the country, the sheriff’s office offered some advice.

“Now, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but you should consider adding some security,” the spokesman wrote. “That or just, maybe, I don’t know, ‘lose’ your shadow. Like, Peter Pan style.” Great suggestion!

“But hey, whatever you feel is best. You’re the prognosticator,” the spokesman concluded. “Just a little friendly advice from the Hood.”

The spokesman went by “JI” on Facebook, but no one who goes by those initials shows up on the Hood River Sheriff’s Office website. The sheriff is Matt English, and one Facebook comment thanked “John,” but there was no clear suggestion who this “John” might be. In any case, this “John” is very concerned about Phil’s welfare. Perhaps he should volunteer and serve on Punxsutawney Phil’s detail — if the rodent sees his shadow, those threats just might become credible.

Dear Phil,I assume you go by Phil. I mean, Punxsutawney is a bit of a mouthful. Greetings from Hood River, OR. I'm…

Posted by Hood River County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Then again, maybe John knows something Phil doesn’t…