How Much Wood Can A Woodchuck Choke on?

groundhog bite meLast year I had a real problem with Groundhog Day. The issue was, there were just too many darn celebrity groundhogs with differing predictions for the end of winter and I didn’t know who to believe. Between world-renowned rodent, Punxatawny Phil, lesser-known wonder woodchuck, Staten Island Chuck, and scores of others, the playing field was just way too crowded with clairvoyant groundhogs. I also wondered if, perhaps, Chuck, Phil, and the rest of the superstar groundhogs could be trusted. Much as movie stars turn on the charm when the cameras are rolling, I wondered if the celebrity groundhogs might be less concerned with getting the change of seasons right and more interested in just striking a pretty pose for the cameras.

So this year I decided to follow a different groundhog. This year I was betting on our groundhog. Suburban Stan, as we call him, lives under our deck, and like his celebrity brethren, he also takes a peak out from his lair around Groundhog Day. I wasn’t sure if he was really looking for his shadow like the other dudes, or if he was just checking to see if the evil family dog was still lurking around. But if he happened to see his shadow (or not) while looking around, the end result would be the same and I would have my prediction. I was fairly certain Stan would give us an unbiased reading, because unlike Phil and Chuck, he didn’t have a crowd to please or paparazzi to perform for. He also didn’t have his own security team, twitter account, or Facebook page, had never been reported on by Perez Hilton or TMZ, did not have an arrest record, a shopping addiction, or his own reality show, wasn’t related to the Kardashians, and had never hosted SNL, so all in all, I thought he was probably a pretty grounded groundhog.

As we got closer to Groundhog Day, though, I began to get nervous that Stan might sleep though the big event. Celebrity groundhogs have their own people to wake them up and make sure that they are camera ready when the moment arrives, but Stan had no people. He didn’t even have a stunt double. What if Stan failed me? I’d have to rely on the actual calendar and Al Roker to tell me when spring would arrive.

Knowing he has a way with sleepy groundhogs, I considered phoning Bill Murray to see if he could stop by and rouse Stan at the right time. I was pretty sure that Bill would do it because he’s between films and I’m sure he has nothing better to do than trek out to the suburbs and wake up large hibernating rodents. However, I was concerned that having Bill Murray come over to see him might give Stan a swelled head and then he would think he, too, was a celebrity groundhog, so I nixed that idea.

Then I had an epiphany. With so many celebrity groundhogs out there, was it possible that all groundhogs have the secret desire to be famous? Are they all just waiting to be discovered and hailed as the new Punxatawny Phil, get their own movie with Bill Murray, and refuse to answer when someone refers to them as a woodchuck?

I thought if this was true and Stan was a celeb groundhog wannabe, then there was really no problem. When the time came for him to perform, I ‘d just roll out a red carpet and stand around with a camera.

Sadly, when the big day arrived, Stan was a no-show and I ended up having to go with Phil’s forecast. On a beautiful, sunny, unwinter-like winter day, Phil decided we were going to have an early spring. I thought this was a pretty good prediction until 3 days later when it snowed.

Deciding that none of the groundhogs could be trusted, I figure I’d ask the few people I knew could be trusted. But unfortunately, none of the Presidential candidates returned my calls.

©2016, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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Ho-Ho-Hoping You Have a Healthy Holiday!

photo courtesy Matthew Bietz

photo courtesy Matthew Bietz

This month, while most people are suffering from colds and flu, I have developed a lesser known malady known as Lickity Spit Tongue.

This condition is marked by a dry, slighty gummy tongue, caused by licking hundreds of stamps and envelopes for my holiday cards because the post office ran out of the self-stick kind.

While Lickity Spit Tongue may be new to you, there are actually a number of unusual afflictions that you won’t necessarily find on Web-MD which are specific to this month alone. Yes, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. But they can also be frought with danger. So here to help you keep an eye out for those yuletide dangers is a list of holiday maladies you should try to avoid. They are not usually serious but can be quite painful:

Wrapping Paper Elbow: Pain in one or both elbows caused by contortions created by trying to wrap weird shaped toys, sports equipment and puppies.

Carpal Tunnel Tip Syndrome: A repetitive use injury. Pain caused by a constant wrist flicking motion required to dole out cash tips at a frenzied pace to people you really don’t like but need good service from.

Some Assembly Required Myopia: Blurred vision, tearing, and a slight crossing of the eyes caused by trying to read the directions (usually in another language) for putting together toys that look fully assembled on the package but arrive in 600 pieces.

Fruitcake Contusion: Bruising and/or breaking of appendage that occurs when you drop a fruitcake on your foot

Holiday Gift Hiding Strain: Pulled muscle, stiff neck, and back pain caused by trying to shove heavy gifts into obscure hiding places so the kids won’t find them. (see also Holiday Gift Hiding Concussion, a related condition caused by the gift you hid falling onto your head).

Egg Nog Head: A fuzzy, swollen and slightly nauseous feeling you have for 24 hours after indulging in too much Egg Nog, devilled eggs, and basically anything else that has the word “egg“ in it at a holiday party.

Partial Post Holiday Hearing Loss: Caused by the incessant playing of Christmas music from Thanksgiving to New Years. Note: This is a hysterical condition caused by frequency of exposure rather than level of sound, and usually dissipates by Groundhog Day.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!!

©2015, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

bookbutton-04“Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” makes a great gift for the holidays!! To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE

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