It’s Groundhog Day. Again! A day that reminds me of a great movie with a great message (see my thoughts below). Again. And this year, it reminds me that I have great friends. Now, you may wonder, what does that have to do with Groundhog Day? Well, a few years ago, I visited one of my dearest friends when she was living in Woodstock, IL, where the movie, “Groundhog Day” was filmed. Standing in the town square on a snowy night with one of my best friends is a day (well, technically a night) I’d be happy to repeat. Again and again.
Yes, I know that Groundhog Day was last week. But truth be told, on the actual day, I almost forgot that it was Groundhog Day. Until Black, on our morning phone call (we talk almost every morning – sometimes specific Red & Black items, sometimes current events, sometimes just "life") wishes me, "Happy Groundhog Day." Well, these days, every day feels like Groundhog Day, so I thought she was just being sarcastic, which wouldn't be unusual. When I started to reply with something like "yeah, same ole, same ole", I paused, because I realized, it really was Groundhog Day.
But even if Black hadn't brought it to my attention, there was still no escaping Groundhog Day, as beside it being mentioned on the morning shows, I noticed that one of the movie channels had the movie "Groundhog Day" on all day. Literally all day, as in on a loop (which seemed appropriate). It was ok with me, as it's one of my all-time favorite movies.
For me, the movie has everything. A great cast (Bill Murray was true perfection and I hope they never, ever do a remake because no one can top him), a great script that somehow made a very simple storyline come alive, and subtle messaging. Yes, each day is the same. Sounds boring. But no, because even with the same day every day there are nuances of humor, of sadness, of happiness, of goodness, of badness. And decisions to be made, or not made. Do you do the right thing, the easy thing, the unexpected thing? Do you think about yourself or others?
Yes, I know, my theater degree is showing. (Something Black claims I rarely use, except when I'm being, well, theatrical.) But it's an accurate analysis, and when I watched "Groundhog Day" for the umpteenth time this Groundhog Day, it was through the lens of the last year and the coronavirus. When I thought every day was the same. But watching the movie, again, made me realize it really isn't. Because each day gives us new opportunities to make decisions, both big and small. Each day, in its own way, is a gift. And although almost every day this last year has felt like we're living our own personal "Groundhog Day", at the same time it has taught us so much.
And this time, even though I've seen the ending countless times, it really made me stop and think …
That if we're lucky, maybe, like Bill Murray's character, who ultimately found patience and then happiness in appreciating what was there, not tomorrow, but today … that we find happiness today but also see that our "Groundhog Days" will one day be over. And that all our "todays" are making opportunities for tomorrow's new beginnings.
Black can’t help but think backward (more on that below), but Red always thought being told that you do things backward was an insult, not a compliment. Except, maybe, on National Backward Day, when everyone is encouraged to have a bit of fun, shake up the “normal” way of doing things, and maybe even find a better way of doing some things. Or at least to try a different perspective. And if nothing works, you can follow Black’s advice to Red and say, “Dammit, I’m mad”! Which she quickly pointed out is a palindrome – a word, sentence, verse, or number that reads the same backward or forward.
Since when does doing something backward mean you're doing it wrong?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, still that straight-A student, has always tried to do things the “right” way, which has meant looking at things in a very traditional way; while Black, who doesn’t think like most “mere mortals” (as Red's fond of telling her) looks at things in a very different, or perhaps even “backward”, way.
For Red, that has always meant looking at where things are today and moving forward in an orderly and logical, at least to her, way. Doing things “out of order” isn’t Red’s style. So, National Backward Day, where you not only celebrate but embrace doing things backward, or simply contrary to how they’re usually done, seemed crazy and even difficult to do. Until it prompted a long-forgotten memory,
My mom used to tell me that one of her and my dad’s favorite meals was going to a restaurant called Lundy’s on Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn (where they grew up and lived when they first were married). But one night, after getting tired of never having room for dessert, they decided to eat their meal backward – so a large heaping slice of blueberry pie topped with chocolate ice-cream was followed by an enormous portion of fried shrimp followed by soup and salad, which they ended up taking home. And they deemed it … a perfect meal.
Of course, for Black, the idea of doing things backward comes second nature and is how she has approached life. She looks at the end goal and then thinks about how to get there, hence to her, it’s always about working backward (even New Year’s resolutions, if she made them) because,
If you do not know where you want to go, how can you determine the best way to get there? It is like getting in a car and driving without a destination in mind – it will get you somewhere, but not necessarily where you want to be.
Looking for a simpler way to celebrate the day? Maybe eat breakfast for dinner (we often do that anyway) or turn your shirt around. Maybe we should celebrate by Red being pragmatic and Black warm and fuzzy. Now that would be backward!