Many are the holidays observed by the Americans, and most of them are in some way strange. Smallpox and slavery sailing over on a boat; green-dyed Hibernians heaving freely in the streets; pounding big nails through a man’s wrists and ankles to affix him to an upright stick—if it is in any way weird or wrong, the Americans, they will wrap a holiday around it.
And so it is natural that on February 2 the Americans everywhere pause in their labors to await word from an oracular rodent who comes up from out of the ground to deliver climate wisdoms.
“Zoomancy,” that is the fancy Science Man word for such: humans scrutinizing the parts, patterns, particulars of non-human beasts, for clues as to past, present, future. This has been going on forever, from before even there were Americans. The Incas, they would rip the lungs out of a llama, then inflate them by blowing into the trachea; priests studied the distended veins of the blatted llama lungs, discerning thereby what the Incas should do in the politics. A Babylonian with a question, s/he would walk up to a sleeping ox, and splash water on its head. The reaction of the ox would then be compared to a Chart outlining seventeen possible meanings: if the beast opened both eyes, that would be a “yes”; if both eyes remained closed, that would be "no answer, try again later"; if the animal rose up and drove a horn through your groin, that would mean “oh shit." Etc. The Lombards, they would bake the head of an ass, and then burn a piece of carbon on it. The names of suspected criminals were recited: if, as a name was pronounced, the judge heard a certain distinctive crackling, sounding from the carbonized ass-head, that meant the person was guilty. It should surprise no one that Confederate General Sheets is currently circulating a memo proposing that this practice be revived in the Americans’ immigration courts.
Yesterday, or the day before that, or wherever the day might be removed from whatever day it is when you are reading this: on Feburary 2, then, and throughout many of the Hairball regions, large sleeping rodents, they were yanked from out of their burrows, and ordered to announce whether winter is ending.
Said rodents, it seems, achieve their climate forecasts through their shadows. If such a beast sees its shadow, winter will persist; if no shadow, spring soon come.
The most famous such rodent is Punxsutawney Phil, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
“Punxsutawney” is a shit just made up name concocted by the Lenape to punish the white people for smallpoxing them and stealing their land: no white person can really pronounce it without spluttering like Slyvester the cat. “Punxsutawney,” it is said, variously translates as "town of the sandflies,” “town of the mosquitoes,” and “poison vine.” Needless to say, none of the Lanape actually lived where is today Punxsutawney. Because the Lanape were Sane. Only white people would put down roots in a horror hole infested with mosquitoes, sandflies, and poison vines.
As befits a creature who dwells in a Hell of sandflies, mosquitoes and poison vines, Punxsutawney Phil has never been universally loved. Sometimes he is actually slandered. Back in 1908, for instance, the luciferian time-traveler Jeff Bezos commanded the Washington Post to inscribe an editorial damning Phil as a false prophet of fake news.
We want it distinctly understood that The Post is no blind, fanatical disciple of the ground hog. There has always been with us a lurking suspicion that this greatly lauded beast is an impudent and stupid humbug. Our persistent inclination is to class him with the goosebone, the hen running sideways across the road, the Tar baby, Brer Rabbit, and Brer Fox. The conjunction of a sunshiny 2d of February and a subsequent spell of detestable weather has never occurred to us as more than a mere fortuitous coincidence. Even now, although events should bolster up the superstition and yesterday’s bright sun be followed by six weeks of gloom, and cold, and grippe, we should stubbornly adhere to our incredulity—still maintain against all comers that the ground hog is no prophet.
Phil must also ceaselessly beat off the many pretenders to his throne who are peppered throughout the Hairball regions. These alternate rodential climate criers include Chattanooga Chuck, out in Tennessee; General Beauregard "Beau" Lee, of Lilburn, Georgia, a direct descendant of that state’s former governor, Lester Maddox; Hutty The Hog of Kansas City, Missouri; and Smith Lake Jake of Graysville, Alabama, a burg formerly known as Gin Town, because no one but a rodent could stand to live there without guzzling great gallons of gin at all times.
It has never really been satisfactorily explained why a rodent searching for his shadow should serve as a weathervane. But so what? None among the people of The Hairball will question why the immigration judges base their verdicts on crackling carbon smoking on an ass head, either.
Predictive rodents seem to be a manifestation of the Pennylsvania Dutch. The first thing to be understood about these people is that they are not Dutch, but German. That Germans would be called Dutch: this is because everything is confused, in the humans. These particular humans, they became Americans when they emigrated from the shithole countries along the Rhine, where everyone was being pillaged and rapined in the Thirty Years War, a Sunni/Shia conflict of its time. Once they became Pennslyvania Dutch, they proceeded to make Farms. In the winter they would sit in the farmhouse and stare out at the snow until they couldn’t take it anymore and then they would go out and pull a rodent up out of the ground and ask it if the winter couldn’t be over already please.
Back in the homeland, there on the Rhine, badgers, with these people, they were in charge of ending the winter. But a badger can rip a human’s arm off at the root, and the Pennsylvania Dutch, there in their new homeland, decided it was safer to go groping around for a groundhog, rather than a badger.
Sometimes a badger will want to live under your house, and then what you do is move. A badger is not a rodent, but is instead closely related to the wolverine, an animal the size of a cat that can take down and kill a bear. Evolution taught the wolverine that the way to meet Danger is to stand there and face it head-on. This worked well, until came the automobile. Which is why, today: where there is a road, there are no wolverines.
My companero J was once riding along atop his horse when he casually roped a passing badger. He then spent the next six hours in a complete fear-frenzy, desperately trying to prevent the enraged animal from climbing up the rope to on the saddle make mincemeat of J's gonads. The badger was the most dangerous creature he ever roped, J says, except for his wife.
Seems J was a-rest at home one day, out in the yard, lazily roping his children, when his wife, she detected a certain look in his eye, and she said to him: "J, don't you rope me. I mean it. I'm telling you. Don't do it." J avowed that yes, no, he wouldn't rope her. Then, later that evening, in the house, he just couldn't help himself—as she passed by, he roped her. She said nothing, just slipped out of the rope. J thought that was the end of it. Until the next morning. When he awoke, walked through the front room, and saw, there in front of the wood stove, all laid out, his nice new special rope, cut into one-inch pieces.
It is possible this woman employed a groundhog to dismember the rope. Because, like all rodents, the groundhog has Teeth. These are very sharp, and constantly employed in Cutting and Sawing. The animals' incisors grow at a rate of an inch every three months, which is why they are out there gnawing on your deck. So their teeth will not become long as walrus tusks. If you go out and yell at them, they will for sure whistle, and maybe bark, which is their Way of announcing Danger.
The capybara eschews whistling, when there is Danger, going straight for the barking. The capybara is the world’s largest rodent, living around water down in South America, where it is the favorite food of the anaconda. The anaconda is a snake the size of a car that can wrap itself around and squeeze open a nuclear power plant, and why no one has rolled a great roiling nest of them into The Hairball’s bedchamber, I don't know. In order not to become the favorite food of the anaconda, the capybara runs fast as a horse. Which is why the cowgirl with the sass and I are working to bring them here. We are going to make many dollars, challenging cowboys all proud of their horses and shit, to race against these rodents, a-saddled with birds or cats or monkeys. The cowboys will Lose, and we will take their Money. If the cowboys get Mad, and try to grab back the money, we will then deploy the wolverines.
The cowgirl with the sass used to train horses for people, but that made her want to stab and shoot. This is because too many of the Americans who have horses, have them only because they have Money. They don’t really know anything about horses, and they’re not going to learn. Horses have many Secrets, and it is necessary to fathom as many of these as possible. The first secret, is that no horse really wants a human to ride it. And, for sure, no horse wants any human riding it, who does not know the horse does not want any riders.
Capybaras, in contrast, don't mind riders at all. Everywhere in nature, can be seen various members of the animal kingdom, standing or sitting on capybaras. There is an entire tube devoted to this phenomenon. This is why, in the races, the capybara, with a bird or a cat or a monkey upon it, will always win, against a horse with a human aboard.
I first met capybaras in the wierdo wing of the San Francisco Zoo, where they were placed right across from the backward-penis hippos. The backward-penis hippo is a form of pygmy hippopotamus where the male has a penis that juts not fore, but aft. I used to know what is the term for an aft-backwards hippo-penis, but it's slipping my mind at the moment, and I am not looking it up. This is because The Hairball says that he does not exercise because the body is a battery, with but a finite amount of energy, and so if he exercises, he will thereby deplete the battery of energy he needs for acts truly important, like raping a thirteen-year-old, or feeding from the KFC bucket. The Americans elected The Hairball to be their president, so that must mean he knows what he is talking about. And so, if the body is a battery with but finite energy, so too must be the tubes. You can only go into the tubes so many times, to research this and that, before the tubes battery runs down, is exhausted, and collapses in on itself, like a black hole. I do not want any black holes here on this table. So that is why I am not going to find out what is the word for a backwards-penis hippo.
This is logic.
A potential impediment to the capybara races is that it is not "legal" in this state to "own" capybaras. Which is a nonsense, because capybaras are already here, free-range. This state has many stupid rules, involving animals. For instance, once I decided there should be zebras here. But then I discovered that to roam zebras, I would not only have to get a special permit, but also go to an actual zebra School. I do not need any zebra School. I already know what is most important to know about a zebra. To wit: (1) they will never be tame; (2) they need a ten-foot fence, not a mere six-foot deer fence; and (3) if they don’t like what you are doing, they will kick your head right off your body.
When you are marooned among the Americans, and you want to race capybaras, then in order to cavort with said rodents, within the Law, you must live in either Texas, or Pennsylvania. Texas, because there pretty much everything—so long as you are a white person—is legal: not so long ago, it was perfectly permissible in Texas to speed down the highway with a loaded gun in one hand, and an open bottle of whiskey in the other. Pennyslvania, presumably because of that state's well-known rodent fetish: see Phil, groundhog, Punxsutawney.
But we have a Plan, the cowgirl with the sass and I, to surmount any legal difficulty. We are going to obtain a pardon from the governor. Jerry Brown, here in California, he is nearing the end of his second go-round as governor. And executive officeholders, they are renowned for going strange, when issuing their final pardons. If The Clenis can fling a pardon at Marc Rich, we figure, Brown can grant us a pardon, prohibiting prosecution, and for all time, when we race the capybaras.
I have an "in" with Brown because when he was governor the first time I wrote a notorious story in the newspaper about him being naked. For this he has remembered me, for what is going on forty years now. I will promise not to write another story about him being naked, so long as we get the pardon. Also, I know where is his ranch, down there in Colusa County. There Brown is planning a quiet retirement. But his retirement will not be quiet, if he does not issue the pardon. Because the cowgirl with the sass and I, we will round up a herd of free-range, unpardoned capybaras, and then we will run them onto his land. It will be like a cattle stampede. Capybaras push out babies every few weeks or so, and so soon it will be like a Soylent Green of capybaras, there on his ranch. Brown will not want that. So, he will grant the pardon.
Then, pardon safely in hand, we will clean out the cowboys of all of their money, betting on the rodent races. And then the cowgirl with the sass, she will saddle up her pony. And ride him on a boat, out on the sea.
This year, when arrived February 2, and the humans they went out, to pull up the groundhogs from out of the ground, to hear from them about the winter, many of the groundhogs, they were not there. This is because the animals, they are leaving the Hairball regions. The Hairball has a Hate for nature, because it is not gilded, and so he wants it all put to sleep. The animals know this, and so they are getting out. The animals recognize The Hairball as a Danger—which is why, if you listen closely, you can hear the groundhogs whistling, pretty much all of the time.
Many of the groundhogs have long lived in Canada, and the rest of them are gnawing their way there as we speak. It is like a Trail of Tears, except all the wood on the way is Chewed. Which is why it will go into the histories as the Trail of Splinters. Some of the groundhogs are reaching Canada upon an Underground Railway. A single groundhog will churn up some 700 pounds of dirt in constructing just one burrow; and each groundhog, s/he makes a lot of burrows. So it is nothing for them, to dig long tunnels beneath the Hairball regions, in order to reach Canada, where they can be Free.
Animals who are not humans, generally they like to remain only where it is safe and sane. For instance, down the mountain there, is what the white people call the Central Valley. Which, for a couple months every summer, features temperatures roughly equivalent to those on Venus. During this time, the Indians, and many of the animals, would go up into the mountains, so that there they might Live.
Only the white people, when they showed up, proved stupid enough to try to live down there year-round. Instead of just moving up out of the fire for a couple months every year, like an Indian, or an animal, the white people stayed put. And to try to cope with the Hell of the Heat, they invented deoderant, fire extinguishers, air conditioning—all of which proceeded to rip the ozone right off the planet.
Things were looking really not good there for awhile. But then the souls of the departing, they combined to repair the ozone. As described by Harper, below, in the true-life documentary film Angels In America.
Another true-life documentary film is Groundhog Day. This an emanation of the ether that traveled through the ozone and into the brainpan of the human Danny Rubin. Who has since pronounced himself, thereby, "the luckiest blind centerfielder ever to catch a fly ball out of the sun.”
Rubin peddled his Groundhog Day script for many years, to the men with the money, who all said they loved it, before adding that of course they would never make it into a film. Then Rubin was scratching around for a new agent. He sent that man the Groundhog script. That man said that he loved the Groundhog script, though of course it would never be made into a movie, and of course he would never represent Rubin. But what he would do, was pass the Groundhog script on to a client, who that man thought might like it.
The script-recipient was Harold Ramis. Who had committed a series of serious sins against the cinema—Stripes, Meatballs, Caddyshack, etc., et al. And who knew that Ghostbusters, on its own, was not enough, to Atone. And so, he decided to take Groundhog Day. To try to answer for himself, before the cinema gods. And, because of the Ghostbusters, which brought in more dollars than Midas, the men with the money, they would let him make it.
Ramis then worked with Rubin to refashion the script in order to rope into the project Bill Murray. Because Ramis felt it essential that the protoganist be a complete asshole. And Murray, for sure, he fit that bill.
And, indeed, during filming, Murray fully flowered, in all his utter assholeness. He threw extreme and dangerous tantrums, including demanding, among many other nonsane things, that the movie go all dark and moody: he wanted a sort of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold feel. Murray was then still smarting from the reception of The Razor's Edge, his bid to break through in a "serious" film. But audiences did not want to see this movie, and the critics all laughed and called him names. It was a rerun of Steve McQueen's pants-down go at Ibsen's An Enemy Of The People. It is why Marion Morrison—that is, John Wayne—never indulged, on stage or on screen, his affection for the works of Noel Coward.
It never got past the thought stage. I guess they figured that maybe spurs and Blithe Spirit wouldn’t go together. Can’t you see the critics? “Wayne should go back to killing Indians, not Noel Coward.”
Murray these days is suffering from the curse that has descended upon all those in Hunter S. Thompson's karass. In the years since Thompson blew his brains out, while talking on the phone with his wife, things have not gone at all swimmingly, for those in Thompson's once and future boys' club. Johnny Depp, for instance, today arrives at premieres so bibulated he is unable to walk without assistance. He has spent all of his money—which once totaled more than the annual GDP of many African nations—and now regards as a wise career choice nakedly frolicking in Marilyn Manson videos. He abandoned long-time partner Vanessa Paradis, and children, to become an Amber Heard tabloid toy. Once the Depp toy was broken, Heard moved on to Elon Musk, a man who has never really been sane—he wants to nuke Mars, so that humans can live there—but who completely lost all his remaining marbles, once he was Hearded. Heard left Musk blubbering in the bed, wondering publicly how best to suicide, but his "recovery" may be even worse: Musk now manufactures flamethrowers and peddles them all over the tubes, laughing maniacally.
Murray has yet to experience an Amber alert, but he has meanwhile become Bobo the wandering sot, randomly inserting himself, while various sheets to the wind, into this life and that. Once he memorably weaved into some guy's bachelor party, and there commenced dispensing whiskey-breath relationship advice. A thespian is really the last sort of person a non-thespian would want to listen to, on matters of love and marriage. This is because, by the very nature of the craft, a thespian is required to be so many different people. The kahuna Serge King talks about this in his Changing Reality: a gift of shamans is becoming other beings, and "actors and actresses, whose profession developed out of an age-old shamanic tradition, are the most well-known practitioners of this skill today." This is why, when you become involved with a thespian, you may drift off to sleep next to sweet Sir Galahad, but wake up looking into the glittering eyes of Charles Manson.
In Groundhog Day, Murray shamans forth Phil Connors, a television weatherman in Pittsburgh, whose defining characteristic is that he is an asshole. The film immediately establishes that this man is definitely not about the Real. We see just his hand, frozen upon a field of blue, as he intones gibberish about temperatures. Phil is on the television, emitting bloviations about the weather, working before a blank blue screen, upon which will be projected, for the viewers at home, a map, which is a non-real representation of various lands and waters—which themselves are, maybe, Real.
Before he is out of his TV spiel, we know that Phil is a smug, contemptuous jerk. We don't want to be around him. We are wondering, though we're feeling bad about it, whether maybe he might be killed off, before the expiration of the first reel.
Phil has been assigned to travel out to Punxsutawney, to receive there the wisdom of the rodent, on February 2. While Phil's producer, Rita, and his cameraman, Larry, can appreciate the charm in such frivolity, Phil himself is volubly aggrieved that he must mix with those he regards as morons and hicks, in senseless service to an overgrown rat. He sneers his way through the day; then, at its end, is unable to return to Pittsburgh, because of a blizzard (that he failed to predict). Phil mopes with his crew back to Punxsutawney, and grumps off to sleep. To awaken the next morning: in the exact same day. Every day, for Phil, is now Groundhog Day. He is trapped, in an endless rerun. And only he, is aware, that they are all in a time loop, reliving the same ol' day, day after day after day.
Early on, along his stations on this cross, Phil sees a sawbones, and a shrink: they, of course, have no answers. Next he consults a pair of town tipplers, in a bowling-alley bar. "What would you do?" Phil glums. "If you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?" To which one of the tipplers replies: "That about sums it up for me."
It is in the company of these tipplers, that Phil decides that, since he is forever looped into the same exact day, nothing he might do, on any particular manifestation of that day, will have any carry-over effects, into any "next" day—as there never is any "next" day: always, he will inevitably awaken, at 6:00 a.m., there in Groundhog Day, begun anew, once again—and so he may, safely, without consequence, embark on a grand tour of the vices. Phil then avidly indulges in gluttony, lust, larceny, fetishes as outre as may depicted in a film rated PG. Eventually, in this, Phil of course reaches an Ecclesiastes moment: he's been through it all, and all is now Boring.
And so, he decides to seduce Rita. Through endless repetition, he accumulates vast quantitites of information about her, so as to craft what she will consider a perfect day. So that, at the end of it, she will agree to freely fuck him.
Because, in this, in both means, and motive, Phil is foully base—a cad—he never gets there. In the end, Rita can always sense it: she is, somehow, some way, the target of some creepy, slimy, scheme. Phil almost makes it, once, but, ever after that, he each time falls further and further from his goal, sweating desperation, increasingly, repelling her.
So, Phil next goes Musk-like morose, and takes to sitting in his pajamas, in front of the television, eating popcorn and drinking whiskey, impressing the old folks at his B&B by correctly guessing all the Jeopardy questions. While in this meditative state, Phil, like a true American, conceives a CT: it is all the fault of the groundhog. The weather-predicting rodent, he is somehow responsible, for all of this. If the hog, he can in some way be Stopped, Phil figures, the days, they will then begin again. So Phil, he kidnaps the rodent, and he throws it into a truck, and they drive together to a quarry, and then Phil guns the vehicle off a cliff, and together, Phil, and the groundhog, Phil, they merge, in a roaring fireball.
But: it doesn't work. The CT: it was Wrong. Phil, the groundhog, Groundhog Day: they all persist.
Phil next tours various ways of killing himself, now that he knows he will live again, every time he dies. Until that too gets boring. He ends up, immediately upon waking, shuffling downstairs in the B&B to grip the toaster, take it upstairs, plug it in, and drop it into the bath with him. In this way, he can at least short out the day: early.
Then, as is common with humans who come to understand that life is non-ordinary, Phil conceives a desire to communicate this non-ordinariness to other humans. So he announces to Rita that he is immortal, a form of god. As is also common, this does not go well: he is not believed. As an attempt at proof, Phil demonstrates to Rita his intimate knowledge of the lives of the various townspeople, which he has gathered over the endless millennnia he has lived among them, but Rita regards this as some sort of trick. “Maybe the real god uses tricks," Phil says. "Maybe he’s not omnipotent, he’s just been around so long he knows everything.”
Phil, through his ordeal, has dialed down his assholeness sufficiently so that it is now possible for a human to stand to be around with him without wanting to drink cyanide, and so Rita agrees to spend the whole day with him, to test his story. Through this day, Phil gallantly restrains his Weinsteining impulses. But, still, Groundhog Day does not let Phil go.
Nor does it let him go when Phil elects to devote his endless time to more than popcorn and Jeopardy: learning the piano, taking up ice-sculpting, etc. Because Phil's still not there.
Phil starts to get there when he at last directs attention to the broken begging old man he has spurned hundreds of thousands of times before. Phil gets the old man in off the street, and ultimately arrives with him at the hospital. Where the old man dies. Phil refuses to accept this. “Sometimes people just die,” the nurse says. “Not today,” Phil replies. For: no one can die, in his day. That day, that must repeat, over and over and over and over and over again.
We then see: repeat: endless eons, in which Phil tries all, to, in that day, keep that man alive. And we see that all attempts, fail. For, in that day, that man, is always going to die.
When next we see Phil, he has reordered all of his life. He cannot save that old man—who, in that day, will always die—but Phil has understood that what he can do, is identify the suffering, in that day, of those who can be helped, and that he can arrange to be there, to help them. So, he is there: when a boy falls high from a tree, motoring senior citizens are arest with a flat tire, a steak-choker is in gasping need of a Heimlich, a woman requires a light for her cigarette. Even what he formerly regarded as a pure apparational plague, his high-school classmate, geekily pressing on Phil to purchase insurance—Phil buys from this guy more insurance than any ten humans might ever need. And why not? It makes the man happy. And it costs Phil: nothing.
This time, when, at the end of the day, Phil tells Rita he loves her, he really means it. And, this time, the next morning, it is, actually, and at last, a new day.
Because Phil, he has at last graduated. Absorbed the Lew Welch "Course College Graduation Address":
(1) Freak out.
(2) Come back.
(3) Bandage the wounded and feed
however many you can.
(4) Never cheat.
Groundhog Day is a charming little confection. But because it is a Law that nothing is appreciated by everyone—not even chocolate, or cocaine—there have been some grumblings over the years about this film. One of the grumblings goes like this: why does it have to be framed as a rom-com, fall into a boy-earns-girl fable?
This of course is a criticism that can be howitzered at most all of the movies—even those about the politics. To wit, Reds: boy meets girl, boy and girl have some sex and some politics, boy's kidneys bleed out and he is buried in a Wall. Or, 1984: boy meets girl, boy and girl have some sex and some politics, rats in the face cause boy to shift his love to Big Brother. Etc.
Also, in this case, rom-comming seems actually appropriate, when one considers just why it is that the groundhog comes blinking out of his burrow round about early February. It is not because he is a narcissist with an overwhelming need to stand staring starry-eyed at his own shadow. Or because he is some human helpmeet up to chatter about the weather. No. The rodent, he comes up out of his hole, because he’s looking for a woman.
Many male groundhogs do come out of their burrow on Groundhog Day, but not to see their shadow, said Stam Zervanos, emeritus professor of biology.
“At this time of year, males emerge from their burrows to start searching for the females,” he explained. “The females come out probably seven days later and stay just outside of their burrow or maybe just inside their burrow.” After the males determine where the females are, both sexes “go back to their winter burrows and spend a little more time in hibernation.
“In March, they all emerge together, and that’s when mating occurs,” he said. “The males know exactly where the females are, [so] mating can occur very rapidly.”
After the mating, come the little baby groundhogs. And, in this, it all plays, all over again. Just like in the movie. Groundhog Day!
A lot of the artists, they will not talk about their art. They prefer that it remain in mystery. David Lynch, is famously one of these. Thus, for example, he will not tell you why, in his true-life documentary series Twin Peaks: The Return, the real Dale Cooper oozes out of a wall electrical socket. Where he is then taken for the recently departed tulpa Dougie Jones, recalled to The Lodge from that very spot. Dale then just assuming he is Dougie, because everyone treats him like he is. And the knowledge of his true Dalenenss, that sizzled away, in his incarnation through the wall. Or why, later, Dale, in Dougie, dimly aware that he is more, and other, than Dougie, sticks a fork in a wall electrical socket, to deliver a shock to the system.
Lynch just assumes that at some point some doctor harangued you about the cigarettes. Commenced the St. Vitus Dance about heart disease. Explained about the heart. That every heartbeat, it begins with an electrical spark. That no one knows why. Or where that spark comes from. But it's Real. And a human, s/he is therefore a creature of electricity. And, in the life of any human, there can be good electricities, and electricities not so good.
Like, if you are the human Phil Connors, there in Groundhog Day, the electricity that powers you, that is good. And the electricity that powers the toaster, that is also good. But if you are Phil, and you sit in the water in the bathtub, and you plug in the toaster, and you drop the toaster into the bath, then that is then Bad. Because your electricities, that of you and the toaster, they are not, in that moment, compatible.
Danny Rubin, the Groundhog writer, he knows all about the spark. Because that is what is required, he knows, to make a screenplay, come alive.
When you start putting together all the pieces of things that you visualized that would be wonderful, it all seems in your mind to be wonderful, but then when you look at what you've created on the page, it’s like a Frankenstein’s monster. You've got a head, you've got the hands, you've got the feet, you've got the body; you’ve thought of everything, but when you look at it, it's still just a bunch of dead meat, lying there on the table. And you're trying to get a pulse, to go through the thing. What makes it real? It's complete artifice, it's completely made up, it's all these things from your head, and your desires and dreams, and it isn't real yet. And, somehow, something has to spark, off the page. To join the life, that's going on in this world that you've created. And to make that life smooth, to make that feel real, that’s the absolutely impossible thing. Writing a good screenplay, it's almost impossible.
Rubin has not really had a successful screenplay since Groundhog Day—in the sense of "success" as a screenplay eventually becoming a film, that is actually produced and released, and that people then watch. Groundhog was a confluence, and Rubin has not merged with such again. His work is just too quirky; he cannot write Normal. But Rubin doesn't mind. He believes it better to be a one-hit wonder, than to have never known wonder at all.
Rubin, he also doesn't mind, that to all and every, to friends and family, to humans he will never know, he is the groundhog man. Everywhere, the humans, they want, always, to communicate with Rubin, about the groundhog. These communications peak, each year, around February 2. And, these days, on that night, Rubin, and his wife, they push back the furniture in their living room, and there: they: dance.
David Lynch is anyway easy enough to figure out. All of his work is informed by something that happened to him when he was a little boy, growing up in a perfect sunny little Pacific Northwest neighborhood. One afternoon he was out in the street, playing with his brother. When, around the corner, came stumbling, a naked, bloodied woman. The woman sat down on the curb, and she cried. And David, he cried too.
That woman, is the Groundhog old man. And Lynch, he will never relent. From trying to save her. Because, you know, Groundhog notwithstanding, in some Realities, it can be done. Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean that, someday, somehow, it won't will be.
And so, Rubin, he doesn't mind discussing, the mystery pronounced, by his oracular rodent. Rubin, he says:
Phil is presented with the exact same day. And the very first time he’s presented with it, it’s probably the worst day of his life. And by the end of the movie, we see that it’s the exact same day, but somehow this is probably the best day of his life. It's the day he fell in love, and she fell in love with him, and everybody loves him, and he was living a fulfilling life, pursuing culture, and things that he loved, and appreciating the day, and doing good works, and contributing to society. And it makes it very clear, that we are in control of our day. We can control our future. There’s something very empowering about it. Groundhog Day, it's almost an experiment, that says: see? Here’s a guy who was having a terrible day, and he's kind of a horrible person, and just through the act of repetition, and paying attention, and remembering, he is forced to change who he is. And by changing who he is, he changes the life that he experiences, and the world around him.