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Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhog Day

By Alison Bruce

In many parts of Canada, just six more weeks of winter is a not such a bad thing.

When I was twenty-two, I took off out west on an adventure. I took the bus from Toronto to Sudbury and started hitchhiking. My first night out under canvas was on the outskirts of Thunder Bay.

It was April. The flowers were coming up in Toronto. In Thunder Bay, there was still snow on the ground. It was the coldest, longest night of my life. Me, in the middle of no-where, surrounded by wilderness, motor cycle gangs and possibly bears. I don't think I slept a wink.

In the morning I discovered I had set up camp in an empty lot between two housing developments. My motor cycle gangs were probably kids on dirt bikes. The bears were probably raccoons.

Embarrassing but funny. Still, it's not a night I would like to repeat. Which brings me to Groundhog Day and one of my favourite movies.

Punxsutawney Phil and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day. If you haven't seen it, Bill Murray plays a weatherman who finds himself living the same day over and over again. One fan estimated "8 years, 8 months, and 16 days is more or less the minimum amount of time he needed," to accomplish everything he did, which included learning French and how to play piano.

Writer/director Harold Ramis scoffed at that number saying. "It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything, and allotting for the down time and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years..."

That's a  minimum of 10, 957 times repeating one day. That's a lot of time to get a day right.

If I was going to repeat that long ago April night, maybe I would have learned to ride a dirt bike, or studied animal behaviour in the suburbs, or brought a warmer sleeping bag.

What would be YOUR Groundhog Day? And what would you do with it?

FYI: Groundhog Day was added to the United States National Film Registry, in 2006, for being  
"culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"


Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison Bruce has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of A Bodyguard to Remember and other novels with mystery, romance, suspense and sometimes history involved.

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