Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's Groundhog Day !!

That's right, this morning, the Groundhog popped out of his hole, and saw his shadow, signifying six more weeks of winter...And then, following the yearly Groundhog Day tradition, a sniper recorded a killshot on the Groundhog(Phil, I believe is his name) and the carcass is brought to Fran's Roadside Diner, where he was prepared for the Groundhog Day feast. That's right, families all over the country will be enjoying Groundhog for dinner this Groundhog Day, as they have for years, and a select few lucky people will dine on the charred flesh of the actual prognosticating rodent: This year, the chosen few will be enjoying a groundhog meatloaf, generously basiled, some garlic mashed potatoes, and a green bean dish that is an old family secret from Fran herself. This year's roster includes the Mayor of Punxsutawney, his wife, former Pittsburgh Steeler standout linebacker Jack Lambert, Jennifer Aniston, Regis Philbin, Heath Ledger, Andy Serkis(who apparently has a DEAD-ON groundhog impersonation that he has been working on for the occasion) and a few local radio station contest winners. It really is a fabulous meal...How would I know that ? You ask...Well, I happened to attend the meal in 1999...It's a good story, let me share it with you now...I was a little surprised when I got the call for the Groundhog Day Dinner in Punxsutawney, but they told me they had seen my critically acclaimed work in the "Vagina Monologues" and they wanted me at the dinner- Well, who the hell was I to turn them down ? I will spare you the drama of my preparations and especially the tuxedo fitting(Christ, the tailor spent 45 minutes trying to get an exact measurement of where I "hang", so to speak...Needless to say, it made me very uncomfortable- but I did look good) and we'll skip ahead to the dinner itself...I was the first to arrive(being relatively young, I was naive to the "fashionably late " entrance) but I got to have a good long chat with Fran, who told me the most fascinating story of her time as an underwear inspector for Hanes(she was Inspector number 48) and the time she found a human head in a pair of tiger print bikini briefs. The assembly line had to be shut down for two weeks while it was investigated( it turned out to be the result of a monetary dispute between an employee and a bookie over some illegal gambling on The People's Choice Awards)...But soon enough, the other guests arrived, I ate dinner with the Mayor of Punxsutawney and his wife, filmmaker David Lynch, singer Shakira, actor Tim Robbins, and former Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Babe Laufenberg, there were no contest winners that year as they had discovered widespread cheating and suspended the contest for that year...The dinner was groundhog tacos, with guacamole and a lime mango salsa, served in a soft flour or corn tortilla(our choice) with a side of refried beans, and washed down with a liquor fermented from strawberries and kiwi. It was quite a taste treat...I spent most of my time chatting with Mr. Lynch about the symbolism of the radiator in "Eraserhead", and things were going really well, but then the liquor snuck up on me, and the last thing I remember was telling Tim Robbins that he was no Tom Selleck, and then apparently I made a rather lewd comment to the Mayor's wife about her "taco" and the Mayor punched me in the face, and he and Babe Laufenberg put me in the trunk of a cab and had me dropped off at the Delaware Water Gap. I woke up in the weeds there on the 4th of February, without any pants on...I have since undergone regression therapy for the night, and I found out that the episode was triggered because the mayor's wife was a dead ringer for the governess that set fire to my Star Wars toys as a child and then would only allow me to put them out by urinating on them, but I suffered from acute pee-shyness( a fact the governess was well aware of, by the way), and I simply had to watch them melt...It's okay, I am over it, and someday I will no longer have to pee in a sensory deprivation chamber...Helluva Groundhog Day though, I'll tell you what. In the long run, I'm glad it happened, as it started me on the road to healing, so Groundhog Day will always hold a special place in my heart... So, tonight, I am going to whip up a little Groundhog Goulash from a recipe I picked up from, and hunker down for 6 more weeks of winter. Enjoy your Groundhog Day, everybody !!