Saturday, 2 February 2013

Ode to the groundhog: The great northern hope



There's something psychologically disturbing about the Canadian character.
Perhaps it's the lack of vitamin D.
In the nice weather months, we slather ourselves with enough oil to make a bean salad.
We do burpies and watch our diets.
We get nice new bouncy hairstyles. We work out like fiends.
By the end of each summer, many of us are fit as fiddles, looking fine.
But something happens when the sun disappears to the other side of world. Something happens as we enter the heart of winter darkness.
We press the pause button on life.
The yoga pants -- once hilariously called "sweat" pants -- come out. The carefully prepared veggie concoctions rot in the back of fridge as we dive into mounds of mashed potatoes, vats of beer and bottomless bags of Doritos.
The insides of running shoes begin to stiffen and the gym rarely sees its door darkened.
Winter is for tablets and televisions, PS3s and laptops which become the only beacons from which we receive our light exposure.
Pits and calves remain unshaved, eyebrows mysteriously become unplucked as we give ourselves over to Cover Girl coverup to mask all the blotchy bits.
Pounds pile on, our omendums spill over our pantywaists, our cellulite bubbles just beneath the surface, all hidden from view by large sweaters and double digit "dress pants" and midi waistcoats.
Suddenly, the svelt becomes saggy, the BMI burgeons.
Depression overstays its welcome. Inertia sets in.
The shower becomes a storage area, the microwave the cooking method of choice, fat and sugar become food groups.
And that bottle of Single Malt just doesn't seem to last as long as it used to.
But we Northern soldiers do not live in fear. Something happens around this day of the calendar, regardless of  whether it's an Olympic year.
The Great Northern Spirit begins to bubble and squeak with the hope that one pillowy rodent could save us from ourselves and the middle aisles of the grocery store.
Today is Ground Hog Day.
A Northern day of hope for the future.
Today is the day we all been waiting for, breath held, sanitizer and snot rags in hand, lungs filling solid. Today is the day we wait for a sign from button nosed sages with names like Willy or Phil or Sam.
Today we ask, almost in a whisper: will we will be golfing or shovelling six weeks from now?
This morning, we were not disappointed.
The little rats shuffled from their cages to declare it.
Six. Weeks. Til. Spring.
There will be rejoicing in stale beer joints all over Canada.
Curlers will pause and doff their tartan caps.
Women will make appointments for waxing.
Men will put down their hockey sticks.
Children will look up from their consoles.
It's time to get started, to find the courage to peer into mirror once again, to manipulate the razor and face the pants with the button fly which have spent weeks moulding in the corner.
Winter's nearly over.
Time to get busy.
No more Canadian Idle.

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