Good Gosh: Groundhogs and ghastly guests galore


Sometimes, things make me smile which probably shouldn’t make me smile.

I smile every time the pretty girl trips over a log when running from a deranged killer in horror movies. I smile whenever one of my friends says a knuckleheaded thing to his wife because I know he’s going to pay for it dearly. And I sometimes just smile when I read about over-hyped rodents biting people in the ear.

Take the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wis., for example. A story by the Associated Press grabbed my interest with the first line:

“The mayor of a southern Wisconsin town got up close and personal with a groundhog on Monday.”

You have my attention.

So, so many ways to interpret that first line. The fact that we’ve grown so accustomed to hearing about strange behavior from politicians in this country that it opened my mind to various directions for this story to go should make all of us share a collective shudder. I decided to plow forth into the abyss and see what exactly happened between said groundhog and Mayor Jonathan Freund.

Apparently, as Freund presented Jimmy the groundhog to the citizenry of Sun Prairie, Jimmy bit down on the mayor’s left ear. “Freund flinched,” the story explained, but he soldiered on, announcing that Jimmy had predicted an early spring.”

Look, Groundhog Day is the Kanye West of holidays in this country. A lot of attention and noise, but nothing of real substance behind it. We don’t even get a turkey dinner out of the day. Or groundhog fritters. However, a groundhog biting a mayor gets my attention. And, really, that could happen any day of the year and it would make me read further into the story.

But what made this story more interesting to me was that Jimmy’s handlers said the mayor was mistaken in his pronouncement, and that there would be six more weeks of winter. The City later issued a press release that said only the mayor can interpret Jimmy’s prognostications.

So, budget items, administrative decisions and setting legislation are only parts of the duties enjoyed by the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wis. Apparently, one has to have a little Dr. Doolittle in one’s self to carry the big gavel in that town.

But, here’s another popular theory making the rounds (and when I say “popular,” I mean that I just thought of it at this very moment and I’m trying to give it a little legitimacy): What if Jimmy threatened Mayor Freuend? You know, he could have leaned into the mayor’s ear and whispered, “Tell these fools that spring is coming or you’ll get more of this...”

And then he chomped on the mayor’s ear to make his point.

People, I give you this insight for free every week.

I guess you could chalk up BiteGate as a bit of a public gaffe. It might have been a little embarrassing for Mayor Freund at first, but it looked like he played along well and handled the situation pretty admirably, all things considered. However, some gaffes come with a little steeper price.

A Reuters story this week explained how the Romanian embassy in Paris sent out invitations to representatives of the Romanian diaspora for a reception to mark a visit by President Klaus Iohannis to France. Pretty cool, right? You’re serving a foreign post in service of your nation and get a chance to greet your president. That’s bucket-list kind of stuff, right?

Well...

Apparently, the person who sent out the invitations accidentally attached a spreadsheet with unflattering descriptions of some of the guests. As a point of reference, the words “undesirable” and “ghastly” were used to describe some of the very people receiving these invitations.

“Annotations on the document for internal use do not reflect the opinion or assessment of the Romanian embassy in Paris and they are purely personal, so the responsible person was sanctioned,” the minsistry said in a statement.

Well, I’m sure that made everyone feel a little better.

I remember one day sitting at a local establishment and enjoying some adult beverages with some friends. When my bill came — and my friends conveniently and predictably disappeared at the time money was required — I saw that the customer’s name on the bill was “Bald Guy.”

I ran my hand over my scalp while surveying the rest of the establishment and realized that I was indeed “Bald Guy.” It wasn’t that I was unaware that I was a bit hair-challenged, and it made me laugh more than be upset, but it still startled me a little. Of course, I’m guessing those guests already knew they were “ghastly” or “undesirable,” as well.

But they didn’t necessarily want to see that in print. They’d have probably preferred being bitten by groundhogs.