Lost in Suburbia: How much chuck can a woodchuck chuck on camera?

Tracy Beckerman

Last year I had a real problem with Groundhog Day. The issue was, there were just too many darn celebrity groundhogs with differing predictions for the end of winter, and I didn’t know who to believe. Between world-renowned rodent Punxatawny Phil, lesser-known wonder woodchuck Staten Island Chuck, and scores of others, the playing field was just way too crowded with clairvoyant groundhogs. I also wondered if, perhaps, Chuck, Phil, and the rest of the superstar groundhogs could be trusted. Much as movie stars turn on the charm when the cameras are rolling, I wondered if the celebrity groundhogs might be less concerned with getting the change of seasons right and more interested in just striking a pretty pose for the cameras.

So this year I decided to follow a different groundhog. This year I was betting on our groundhog. Suburban Stan, as we call him, lives under our deck, and like his celebrity brethren, he also takes a peak out from his lair around Groundhog Day. I wasn’t sure if he was really looking for his shadow like the other dudes, or if he was just checking to see if the evil family dog was still lurking around. But if he happened to see his shadow while looking around, the end result would be the same and I would have my prediction. I was fairly certain Stan would give us an unbiased reading, because unlike Phil and Chuck, he didn’t have a crowd to please or paparazzi to perform for. He also didn’t have his own security team, twitter account, or Facebook page, had never been reported on by Perez Hilton or TMZ, did not have an arrest record, a shopping addiction, or his own reality show, wasn’t related to the Kardashians, and had never hosted “SNL,” so all in all, I thought he was probably a pretty grounded groundhog.

As we got closer to Groundhog Day, though, I began to get nervous that Stan might sleep though the big event. Celebrity groundhogs have their own people to wake them up and make sure that they are camera ready when the moment arrives, but Stan had no people. He didn’t even have a stunt double. What if Stan failed me? I’d have to rely on the actual calendar and Al Roker to tell me when spring would arrive. 

Knowing he has a way with sleepy groundhogs, I considered phoning Bill Murray to see if he could stop by and rouse Stan at the right time. I was pretty sure that Bill would do it because he’s between films and I’m sure he has nothing better to do than trek out to the suburbs and wake up large hibernating rodents. However, I was concerned that having Bill Murray come over to see him might give Stan a swelled head and then he would think he, too, was a celebrity groundhog, so I nixed that idea.

Then I had an epiphany. With so many celebrity groundhogs out there, was it possible that all groundhogs have the secret desire to be famous? Are they all just waiting to be discovered and hailed as the new Punxatawny Phil, get their own movie with Bill Murray, and refuse to answer when someone refers to them as a woodchuck? 

I thought if this was true and Stan was a celeb groundhog wannabe, then there was really no problem.

When the time comes for him to perform, I’ll just roll out the red carpet and stand around with a camera.

That seems to work for the Kardashians.

Tracy’s new book, “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” is now available for PRE-ORDER!  To reserve your copy, got to Amazon or any online bookseller.