The continuing life of Phil Connors October 24th, 2007

Let’s say there really was a weatherman named Phil Connors, who really did travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Festival. And through some vitally important yet ultimately irrelevant mechanism Phil actually found himself re-living that day over and over again, waking up at 6 am in Punxsutawney, that same February 2nd, every morning for one long unending immortal lifetime.

Until one day he woke up on February 3rd. And he lived on to tell the tale.

To me.

If that really had happened, you can imagine that Phil and I would have an interesting relationship. I was basically his biographer.

There’s a lot to Phil’s story post-Punxsutawney. Briefly, he had stayed on to live in that town for a while, but after multiple lifetimes in perpetual winter, Phil wanted to go to the beach. And he wanted to see more of the world, too, experience the smells and tastes, the peoples and the cultures. He played and laughed and learned and suffered, he volunteered, he started businesses. He learned to sail and spent years going every place he had ever read about, which was pretty much every place there was.

His fame spread, too. He wasn’t trying to call attention to himself – not like the old Phil would have – but the movie which told his story had made him extremely popular. He began to crave anonymity. It didn’t help him any that he actually bore a resemblance to the actor Bill Murray.

Eventually he’d reached a point where being around people wasn’t as desirable as spending time alone with his thoughts and the simple things he wanted to keep around him. That’s where he’s been for a while and where I found him most recently, living this simple life tucked away in a beautiful corner of the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico.

Sometimes people come up there to visit him. They ask him questions, thinking he might know something. I asked him about it. I go back to visit sometimes myself.

“Oh, they come trudging up here every now and then,” Phil tells me, “hoping to get deep words of wisdom from the old man up in the mountain.”

“What do they want to know?”

“The usual. ‘How many days were you stuck in the time loop?” or “What’s Bill Murray really like?’

“How many days were you stuck in the time loop?”

He looked at me funny.

“Anyhow, I’m usually polite. I try to give them the experience they’re looking for – without actually lying. The truth is most people are looking for answers from someone who can just tell them and get it over with. Besides, I can’t give any deep words when they ask stupid questions.”

“You shouldn’t sell yourself short. It’s a very inspiring story. It makes people happy, and optimistic, and empowered somehow.”

“Look. I didn’t do anything extraordinary. All I did was live. I just lived my life. I did what anybody would have done.”

“Exactly. I think that’s it exactly.”

If you think about it, Phil actually would be the wisest person who ever was. He didn’t ever leave the small town he “grew up” in, but in having lived longer than any other living human, having experienced every type of human experience available in that small town, and having gotten to do so within a safety net allowing for endless failure, he learned as much about human life as any human ever could.

So. If you had the chance to meet Phil, what would you ask him? What do you think he would say?


Comment by Pat M
2007-10-24 15:13:19

I’d ask: why did this happen to you? Has anybody else ever contacted you, claiming that they have been caught in the loop too?

Comment by danny
2007-11-05 15:34:55

Hi, Pat! Great to have you over. I’m testing a new format which lets me reply to your comment directly. One of these days I’ll actually reply to your comment directly.

Comment by Alan
2007-10-24 15:16:41

How wonderful to know that Phil has retained the wisdom learned on his loppy ride through his over-and over. That he is sharing some wisdom is inspiring. More! More!

given the chance – perhaps he could help shed light on how to survive when everyday feels different in the same way…Is this living, Phil?

(on a personal note – cool blogus and can’t for more)

Comment by Al Long
2007-11-09 06:55:12

After Phil reached his”enlightened” stage, did he make others uncomfortable? Did anyone or any group try to change him?

Comment by danny
2007-11-09 09:04:30

This goes back to the chump/jerk thing, doesn’t it? How would an enlightened, balanced, happy individual react to a jerk..without becoming unbalanced? And is it possible to go through life without somehow upsetting somebody else, no matter how enlightened you are? Lots of Chinese officials are pretty uncomfortable with the Dalai Lama, n’est-ce pas?

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