Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate Mayor Bloomberg. Up here high atop the Potter Building, we happen to like him tons more than we liked Rudy (except for about three hours after the attacks on 9/11, when we weren't thinking too clearly). But Bloomberg acted--forgive me, men--like such a old school GUY yesterday. Face it: men force things. If something doesn't work, men tend to shove it as hard as they can. And then it breaks and they have an opportunity to get out the power tools and make a real mess.
So the men who were obviously in charge at the Staten Island Zoo yesterday (Christine Quinn, who was also present, had the sense to stay out of the way) had decided that The Groundhog Would Not See His Shadow and Spring Would Come Early. They already had a little banner all made up for the TV cameras announcing this fact.
And then Chuck G. Hogg decided NOT to come out of the little birdhouse-looking thing they'd put him in, not for food, and not for kids chanting his name--this even though EVERYONE knows that lots of seven-year-olds chanting in their maniac Lord-of-the-Flies way is JUST what makes groundhogs long to display themselves to glaring TV lights. Some fool went for the standard grown-up hubba hubba joke: "C'mon out! Your girlfriend's out here!"
The mayor, a man of action, offered the groundhog some corn on the cob. The groundhog twice pulled it back into his house. The mayor took the corn away from the groundhog to tease him out with it. Predictably, the groundhog bit the mayor, hard, right through his fancy black leather gloves. And so, in true alpha-male fashion, the mayor Forced Things: grabbed the groundhog, who was by then attempting to escape, and held him up to the cameras. The miserable beast squirmed. His real handlers hustled him back into the safety of the cat carrier in which they'd brought him to the event, poor thing. And the Spring-is-coming banner was unfurled.
Mayor Bloomberg appeared later in the day with a band aid on his finger, cracking jokes about terrorist groundhogs and courageously keeping the city safe from same. News reports later noted that since the Chuck G. Hogg had been raised in captivity, that there was no rabies risk to the mayor--and that his tetanus shots were up to date.
I would like to note that it is snowing in New York today. Pretty hard, in fact. I love it when a plan comes together.