Do you know what I’ve discovered this week about winter? Besides the fact that I hate winter, I really think that when that damn groundhog (Punxsutawney Phil) sees his shadow and proclaims six more weeks of winter, my body actually goes down for the count in February with a debilitating respiratory sickness that kicks my ass up one side of the ice rink and down the other. To say that I currently have a cold that is trying to take me out is an understatement, and I have only one entity to blame: Punxsutawney Phil.
Image from www.cheeseburger.com
The snotty tissues spill out of my robe pockets and over the tops of dozens of wastebaskets in my house forming competitive mounds to compare with the frozen snow hills that landscape my front yard and deck. I am mainlining giant pots of homemade chicken soup, chugging galloons of “ET’s Magic Snot-Extractor Potion” (rum, green tea, lemon, ginger, garlic juice, pomegranate extract), and Nyquil (Day and Night). Still there is no healing in sight—just projectile snot-farts coming out of every orifice of my body 24/7 at the speed of a paint ball trajectory that is sure to bring down the recipient with the power of the bubonic plague.
In the midst of all this devilish mucus extraction, I still had deadlines to finish for my book’s publicity (Monsters’ Throwdown). But as I was putting on the final touches to my new website that went live in the midst of all this bacterial hell, I fell into a feverous, drugged sleep and had the most curious of dreams about Punxsutawney Phil (PP), my husband (WW), and me.
Eleanor’s New Website/full of surprises and treats/check it out when you get a chance: www.eleanortomczyk.com
In my dream, I awoke and furtively looked around a strange room to determine where I was. It seems I was in the hospital wired up to a heart-monitoring machine and an IV drip while my body was strapped down to a bed with large leather belts. As I tried to wrestle myself loose, my husband came to my side and tried to calm me in my agitated state.
WW: So you’re awake, Honey. How are you feeling? You’ve had a rough night of it.
ME: Really? I don’t remember a thing. I don’t even remember coming to the hospital. Why am I strapped down like a mental patient?
WW: You face planted into a bowl of chicken soup and knocked yourself out. Doctor said it was caused by an abuse of too much Nyquil combined with your secret mucus extractor recipe. As to the insanity straps, you kept trying to get out of bed to go buy a gun because of some perceived threat from Punxsutawney Phil.
ME: Ooooo. . .I remember. It’s all coming back to me now. I was being threatened by that asshole rodent. He’s the reason I keep getting these colds every February, and I’m unable to shake them until the spring. I need to put a stop to this threat and stand my ground against this rodent, right here—right now. A gun will give me the courage I need to get the job done as soon as I can get out of here. Word on the street is that Punxsutawney Phil has gone to Florida. Even he is tired of this Polar Vortex.
WW: What do you mean “threatened by”? What has he ever done to you? You emphasize the word “rodent” as if he were some sub-species not created and loved by God. Besides, Punxsy’s human handlers are the ones who actually make the predictions, and I’ve read that they are wrong 60% of the time, yet you get this respiratory infection every February, like clockwork. Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction doesn’t have anything to do with you getting sick—he just goes along for the ride.
ME: OH, PLEEEASE! He’s a rodent—a thug—isn’t he, and once a rodent, always a rodent! I think he’ll never change and he is a threat to my well-being. You know how those creatures are. I contacted Punxsy once to share my complaint, and he gave me all sorts of lip (“It’s not my fault—my handlers made me do it,” “I’m suffering from the same frigid temps as you,” “Cut a brother some slack”, and “Who the fuck do you think you are messing in my life, bitch; I don’t need this shit!”). Punxsutawney Phil says he’s sick of winter too, but he’s not God so why am I always fuckin’ with him about the weather forecast. As if I believe him. And why didn’t he show me the respect I’m due as a human? Huh? If I want spring to come early—then early it should come. No excuses. I shouldn’t be sassed at by a rodent—a thug. I want a gun, I want it now, and I’ll show that woodchuck-chuck who is boss.
Used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia Daily-Tribune, Missouri
WW: Then you’re not getting out of these straps until you have a change of heart. You may be crazy, but I’m not. Anyway, don’t you know that Punxsy is not the only winter/spring groundhog forecaster? You’ve got your Ohio’s “Buckeye Chuck” (you should know that since you’re from Cleveland), your West Virginia’s “French Creek Freddie,” your New York Staten Island’s “Chuck” (full name is Charles G. Hogg), your Georgia’s “Gen. Beauregard Lee,” your North Carolina’s “Sir Wally Wally,” and your Alabama’s “Smith Lake Jake.” What you gonna do—shoot them all just because they don’t do what you want them to do when you want them to do it? And what if they take up guns out of fear to protect themselves from the likes of you? Good grief—I think your snot elixir has eroded different parts of your brain and heart, and you’re getting ready to do something that isn’t rational. Now listen to me. Most of the ground hogs are good varmints and want what we all want: shelter, food, gainful employment, and good education for their children. They have a few bad apples but so does every mammal group. But for the most part they make up your woodchucks, your delightful whistle-pigs, your land-beavers. . .
ME: Oh for God’s sake. Save me from this commie, liberal, rodent-loving shit. Just get me a gun, WW!
WW: Nurse!!! My wife has gone over the edge and needs to be prepped for heart surgery! She is a danger to herself and all mammals! I authorize the surgery at once!
Used by permission: RJ Matson, Cagle Cartoons
I am discovering that this story about a “marmot monax” told in jest is symbolic of how we Americans don’t need more gun control laws as much as we need a change of heart. I have no problem with people being able to defend themselves and their loved ones in their homes, but we’re becoming a nation that feels we have the right to “stand our ground” when others don’t do what we want, how we want it, and when we want it—basically we have the right to shoot and kill if another citizen simply pisses us off:
Neighborhood Watch man murders innocent teen carrying Skittles and Tea
Retired Tampa police captain shoots and kills father texting his babysitter before start of movie.
Businessman shoots and kills teen outside convenience store because music was not to his liking.
How long will it take before our country is one giant cemetery from coast to coast because we no longer promote the grace of “standing our ground” by moving our seat, walking away, or turning the other cheek? Isn’t that better than standing before our Final Judge with innocent blood on our hands and realizing that we really blew it regarding “loving our neighbors as ourselves”? God have mercy because none of us is safe from the hardened hearts and sick mentalities of a delusional percentage of our countrymen. Absolutely none!
Used by permission: Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
“Our love affair with guns has nothing to do with tyranny, or militias, or self-preservation. Just ask any NRA member the following: If Jesus Christ himself were to come down off the cross and grant you one wish, would you opt for a world without guns — or the one we live in now? If every gun owner truly feared for their life and liberty, the answer would be obvious. But it’s not about life and liberty. It’s all about the sheer hard-on of owning a gun.” ― Quentin R. Bufogle
“How many have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys?” ― Stephen King, Guns
Used by permission: Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
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