Of all the things the chief organizer of The Park’s Groundhog Day celebrations has had to worry about over his decade-long career, the validity of the official prognostication has never been one of them. Until now.
“I’m in a state of shock,” said Wyatt Whistlepig, Jr. in a telephone interview this morning.
Roused just before dawn to attend the ceremonies, Whistlepig had every intention of returning to his burrow in the afternoon, as he has done every year. Instead, because of the shadow controversy, he has been awake for three days now.
“If this doesn’t constitute premature awakening, I don’t know what does,” he says. But he’s not complaining:
“Dealing with this and anything else that comes up, that’s just part of my job. And it’s a job I love.”
The controversy began just seconds after Solange Marmotte, 2014 Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS), declared that The Park could expect another six weeks of Winter because she had seen her shadow. A group of disgruntled spectators claimed the shadow that Marmotte had seen was not her own, but one that appeared as a result of a fault in the Prognostication Pad.
Immediately, the organizers brought in experts to rule on the matter. Executives from Simply Structures, the firm that designed and built the Prognostication Pad, checked the structure for faults while artists from the Hani Gajah School of Art traced the shadow. Eventually a team of shadow experts ruled that, given the paw and claw that appeared on the artists’ tracings, the shadow must indeed have been Marmotte’s. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon signed the Official POPS’ Proclamation.
“At that point, I thought it was over,” said Whistlepig this morning. “We moved on to the other events and I didn’t give it another thought.”
Little did he know, though, as attendees listened to the Archons’ Address and partook of the tasty treats at the food stations, that the disgruntled group of spectators were planning to become litigants in a lawsuit that, in Whistlepig’s words, “is bound to tear The Park apart.”
That lawsuit alleges that the POPS did not in fact see her shadow on Groundhog Day and that, consequently, her prediction should be declared null and void. The suit was filed yesterday, February 3, at noon.
For his part, Whistlepig thinks the whole matter is a sad and, ultimately, silly one.
“To me, it’s a moot point. By the time the suit gets through our court system, Spring will have arrived, whether Marmotte saw her own shadow or not. All they’ve done [in launching the suit] is brought shame on the POPS, shame on the celebrations, and shame on the shadow. It’s a rain of shame, and for what?” he said, sighing.