“DIANE! IT’S PHIL! YOU KNOW THE GRAHNHAWG YOU BLEW OFF FOR PROM 26 YEARS GO. It’s been a while.” — Punxsutawney Phil drunk-dialing his high school crush, 2020

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Hey Diane, look arahnd. I ain’t home. And I ain’t comin’ back til yer aht.

For a whole year I been heatin’ up your Totinos, scratchin’ yer back with my tiny claws and lettin’ you have full use of my real nice burrow durin’ a time when a lotta people been knockin’ on my hole tryna’ get away from this virus.

When you called me back last year I couldn’t believe that 26 years later I was finally gettin’ my chance with the prettiest girl in Punxsutawney High School’s class a’ 1994. I never even cared about all those fancy newspaper people takin’ my picture every year. Yer eyes was always the ones I wanted on me. I never got to go aht in my custom prom tux but 26 years later you came arahnd and stitched the broken heart inside it right up.

Now I can’t believe I, Punxsa-fukken-tawney Phil, have left my iconic home right before the biggest day a’ my year but I have HAD IT, Diane. I’m tahrd, I’m sad, I’m callin’ you from a fluffy bed in an Airbnb up Frostburg. It’s over.

Lookin’ back I shoulda known somethin’ was funny on acahnta how fast you called me back. Before I knew it you was on me like slaw on a sammie an’ I was flippin up my La-Z-Boy for two. But we didn’t stay good for very long, Diane. You know that.

You’d think the fact that I been livin’ in my own kinda lockdahn fer years now you’d be happy to have a space in my burrow when this virus rilly started takin’ off. Suddenly everyone’s runnin’ arahn talkin’ about “shelf stable” foods and I got a whole pile a’ Dinty Moore stews just waitin’ for the right occasion. But soon’s April come you just went right in on how you needed to go aht and get yer hair done before Lindsay O’Malley’s birthday drinks dahn Dirty Ehrma’s Cornerside Tavern. Why couldn’t you stay home, for chrissakes? You heard ‘at scientist Fauci on the TV, the only way to beat this is to stay inside. You know what happens to me if I catch this thing? THEY KILLED ALL MY SECOND COUSINS IN DENMARK, DIANE.

Besides Lindsay O’Malley said some real nasty stuff about you after your Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” tap-dance at ‘at talent show senior year. I’s hidin’ under the stage chewin’ on some bleachers mindin’ my own business and I heard it with my own ears. She’s 100% jagoff. But you went, didn’t you.

As the almighty Mister Rogers said “Look for the helpers.” Yer not a helper, Diane. When’s a’ last time you cleaned up yer pop cans? You done even pick up yer tahls, you just leave ‘em all wet on the grahnd after you shahr. You know I tried but it’s scientifically impossible to ventilate this burrow and now I got a lotta mildew on my hand scratched walls. Why you even use tahls? YOU TOO GOOD TO SHAKE, DIANE?

This breaks my heart to say but you are not a nice person. I’m sicka you callin me a Whistle Pig. NOBODY SAYS THAT ANYMORE, DIANE. IT’S AN OUTDATED TERM FOR GRAHNHAWG AND IT’S NOT KIND. Yeah, I’m gettin’ heavier. You know why? Every October I HIBERNATE. It’s WHO I AM. You have to accept that for a few weeks I’m gonna double up on my eggplant parms because I need that fuel to keep my heart beatin’ extraordinarily slowly for three months. Stop pokin’ my butt.

Let me be ME, Diane. Stop wakin’ me and psychin’ me out comparin’ me to Grover the Groundhog or Staten Island Chuck or Pierre C. Shadeaux of Louisiana. METEOROLOGY IS AN IMPERFECT SCIENCE NO ONE GETS IT RIGHT ALL THE TIMES I WISH I NEVER WOULDA CALLED YOU UP.

I been disappointed before. Heck I still love the Buccos no matter how many times they break my heart. Only time I ever saw my dad cry was when José Lind dropped that ball in game 7 and if I saw Chico on the street I’d still buy him a hoagie. But this is different. I am deserving of love. I’m so goddam tahrd. I was supposed to be sleepin’ three months go. I NEED TO SLEEP FOR CHRISSAKES.

Tomorrow ere’s gonna be a lotta press ahtside ’is burrow. Just go upstairs and act like you just seen Franco Harris frenchin’ Joey Manganiello while he’s pumpin’ gas at the GetGo. Get all giddy and tell all those reporters I sent you and that winter’s over. The sun’s gotta come aht. It’s been a real tough year and we gotta turn it arahnd.

Start packin’. And keep your hands off my Sega.