The groundhog was mad. No, mad didn’t seem to be a big enough word. Angry? she thought. Pissed off? Infuriated? So many different synonyms, yet none of them seemed to capture the bowel clenching fury that filled her squat body and made her fantasize about infecting others with rabies.
The calendar was just a few weeks past the drunken burrow blast she had attended where Shirley had poked and teased her until she had finally come up with a resolution. “Okay!” she had shouted at Shirley, who was her dearest and most annoying cousin. “I will be nicer in 22!”
“We’re gonna need some kind of new metric to measure that,” Shirley slurred. “Because you are the least nice woodchuck I know! Uh, I mean that in a good way,” she laughed/snorted, and then hiccupped.
The groundhog was offended by that assessment of her character and vowed to never speak to her cousin again. Upon further reflection, however, with less alcohol in her system, she recognized that her reaction unfortunately supported Shirley’s statement.
I used to be nice, she mused. Well, nic-er. What had happened to her? She should be deep in hibernation now, not dreaming about leaving claw marks on the ankles of little girls picking the daisies that grew around her burrow in the meadow. Obliviousness would be a welcome state right now.
Instead she was worrying about that damn plague again, nervous about the gossip that the deer were infecting each other. It would be rutting season soon, and then the damn germs would be flying all over the woods as the idiots locked antlers and tried to prove who had the biggest horns. It was like watching Below Deck; you couldn’t look away.
She’d also heard from her cousins in Arizona—they didn’t seem to be too concerned about the most recent disease strain, as they already had hantavirus and possibly bubonic plague. They were comfortable with the 120 degree temperatures that were the new normal in the desert, saying it was a dry heat, and not mentioning that a rodent could be cooked to a crisp if they didn’t wear a hat.
But now they were worried about some human named after a movie house who had decided to destroy democracy by stopping all legislation from being passed. The groundhogs who lived in the mountains of Appalachia that had been strip mined bare knew of one of those, too. Apparently stupidity was contagious as well.
Focus on something nice she told herself. Think about baking sourdough bread or creating a vision board that would manifest a brighter future. She could do this, she could, and with kinder thoughts, perhaps a kinder woodchuck would emerge.
Her phone buzzed with a text, and she saw that it was from the Mayor of Punxsutawney. It read that with February 2 just a few weeks away, she would need to report in person for her job. The working at home option was off the table.
She was going to bite him when he lifted her in the air.
The writer behind the woodchuck has no advice on how to be nicer in these trying time, although she is trying.