Waiting for Groundhogs

Understand Groundhog DayFake Science presented a chart titled Understand Groundhog Day.[1] It states, “Using statistical analysis, scientists have measured how a groundhog’s reaction can create predictive models.” There were four examples: sees its own shadow, six weeks of winter; sees some litter, neighborhood in decline; sees shadow of spatula, groundhog is going insane; and, of course, the one on the left, sees Waiting for Godot, six weeks of tedium and existential dread.

I take exception to this characterization of Waiting for Godot. Dread implies that the characters are expecting something bad to happen, and this is not the case. The whole point of the narrative is that Vladimir and (to a lesser extent) Estragon keep toiling through life with the hope that Godot will arrive soon and give their life meaning and purpose. Thus the great irony of the play is that their hope of finding meaning gives their lives meaning.[2]

Although Fake Science does not imply this, I believe that Waiting for Godot could easily be done as a puppet play with groundhogs. You know your average groundhog wastes and pines its life away.

[1] Fun Fact: many sources say that prairie dogs were named by Lewis during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This is not true. Nor is it true that groundhogs are prairie dogs.

[2] I don’t mean to imply this is all there is to Waiting for Godot. Books can and have been written about it. To me, the search for meaning is central to the play. This is seen primarily in the hopeful act of waiting for Godot as well as bounds between Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky, and the two brothers.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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