So Joe is no longer that much pennyless anymore. He drank the potion, won the state lottery, and now is having much missed comfort in his life.

But he miscalculated the effects of the groundhog potion. It didn't wear off after a single day. Now he "groundhogs" every day around 3-7 times (he re-lives each day that much, then moves on to the next day).

Everyone else only remembers the last day Joe repeats (and anything that happens in this last repetition is kept in "permanent record"). Also, Joe has no way to know how many repetitions of each day he will get. His only clue that the calendar has turned is when external factors (his phone, radio, newspaper) change when he wakes up.

Joe is smarter than average, but he finds out that his "foresight", "luck", and the recent habit of finishing others' sentences or never being surprised by anything is making people around him suspect something.

Recently he was contacted by a shady character, who proved that he knew Joe was a groundhogger (he behaved differently on each repetition of the day of the meeting, from Joe's POV), and warned him that other groups were also closing in on Joe, and they did not have Joe's best interests in mind.

Actually that is completely BS (can I say BS here? if not, edit it out), if they get Joe, Joe will never again see daylight. Or something like that.

He also informs Joe that he is not the only groundhogger in the world, although there is less than a dozen alive.

Now Joe needs to live the most normal way possible, hiding the fact that he is a groundhogger.

The default answer of "hole up in your house" does not work too well the first few days he tries, because he often misses the day entirely, when the number of repetitions is low. He has no way of knowing how many times the day will repeat.

How can he still live each day over and over and act in the most normal way possible (in the least "groundhogger" way possible)?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Is there a minimum number of loops? You said 3 to 7, but is the minimum actually 3? That gives Joe a bit of leeway, in that the first two loops he can do whatever he pleases so long as during 3+ he plays safe. How he plays it safe and doesn't go mad, however, is the question, isn't it? $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2015 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ Are there "evil" groundhoggers working for the bad guys? Can they also remember what happens from one day to the other and thus identify Joe if he sticks his head out too far (aka does something outrageous such as valiantly preventing the Paris shootings on a re-run, etc)? Otherwise in what way might the bad guys (who don't remember events from one day to the next) recognize Joe? Do they investigate all heroes/lottery winners, etc? Because his private conversations with friends and family, no matter how "weird" to them, are not much to go on unless they're spying on 7 billion people. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 30, 2015 at 21:17
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Do different Ground-hoggers repeat the same days for different numbers of times each? $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2015 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ Great question! Have you followed the Rynn series of questions that came around on WorldBuilding a while back? They play with a subtle magic, and how to hide it. You may be able to borrow some ideas from that series $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 31, 2015 at 5:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is Joe willing to go to the government and prove he's a groundhogger? He could be of immense help to the nation and also receive protection form his enemies. It would be like a Looper-The Blacklist cross over $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2016 at 4:55

5 Answers 5


My answer is the opposite of Andy's.

Avoid all forms of routine.

He has the income. He won the lottery, after all. He knows that this is happening and he can plan for a set of rotations of being a nomad. He can backpack all over the country and experience all kinds of different things, living life to the fullest and never knowing what'll happen next. There's nothing too abnormal about this lifestyle since it is after all a lifestyle for many.

He would have to travel to a different place even on the repeated days, though, and possibly use different forms of travel each time in order to evade other groundhoggers.

His routine:

  • Monday - Is in Wisconsin. Travels to California.
  • Monday - Is in Wisconsin. Travels to Minnesota.

Their routine:

  • Monday - Is in Wisconsin. Finds him. Knows he's going to California.
  • Monday - Is in Wisconsin. Goes to California, only to find he's not there.

This fits your criterion of "not very Groundhogger-like" because he's not sitting around finishing everyone's sentence and being in a perpetual state of future-omniscience. To all observers, he's another backpacking nomad. To the other groundhoggers who already know he's a groundhogger, he's a nuisance who's so difficult to capture it might as well be impossible.

With less than twelve other groundhoggers, it would be impossible for them to ever find him, and he still gets to live a very fulfilling life. If he still wants routine, he can still work online, using TOR and a VPN connection in order to evade a very determined hacker groundhogger.

  • $\begingroup$ My only thought on this is that while possibly fulfilling, it's not a "normal" life, never getting to put down roots or build anything lasting. And constantly being on the run would be rough after a very short amount of time. $\endgroup$
    – AndyD273
    Dec 31, 2015 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ I love questions that can lead two different people to utterly opposite answers. That's a sign that all bets are off, and we can have some real fun with the problem! $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 31, 2015 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ Super easy to have no idea what state you were in yesterday. Won't work. $\endgroup$
    – djechlin
    Feb 10, 2016 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @djechlin Could you please clarify as to how it would be easy? Because in the actual movie that these questions are inspired by, he knows exactly what happened to him the previous day. $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2016 at 15:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This answer is smart, but not so fun. He loses most of his "groundhogger" edge. By going somewhere new every day, he can't anticipate the future anymore, and is largely living a muggle's life. $\endgroup$
    – Mirror318
    Jun 9, 2016 at 4:53

I would combine a bit of the two given answers. As soon as he's told people are watching him, run. Follow Anathema's advice by running a different direction on each repeat day. Repeat this for several repeats. Move all his money to different accounts, ideally changing identity a couple of times (not sure how practical that is in real life). Grow a beard, or shave the one he has. Change his hairstyle. Possibly get cosmetic surgery.

After several months of this, set up roots somewhere. It really doesn't matter, just not near any place he's previously frequented. Ask a random 6-year-old in the airport what state they really like so it's not even his choice (repeating the experiment a few times if the kid points to his home state). Buy a secluded bit of land with a nice house on it.

Hire security guards. Each morning, call them and instruct them on a slightly different security routine so if you're found, the other groundhoggers can't take advantage. You're rich and paying them plenty of money to do whatever you tell them. If security catches someone multiple times, watch the video tapes. If they behaved about the same way both days, they're probably safe. If they obviously changed their tactics the second day, they're groundhoggers. Go back to step 1.

If you're going out for the evening, again follow Anathema's advice. Go to a different restaurant, even on repeat days (why would you want to go the same place all the time anyways?). Go bowling today at 4 PM. Go ice skating tomorrow at 8 AM. The only way anyone else is going to have any idea you've changed your habits is if you're involved in something big.

Basic chaos theory says 12 groundhoggers in the world are going to occasionally alter events on the other side of the planet by accident. There's no way to know if the different major event in Boston today (compared to repeat yesterday) are because one of them bought a stock that happened to send some guy bankrupt and he went crazy / drove home early and got into a wreck with a tanker / etc. Or if it was Joe. So as long as Joe stays away from anything major, nobody is going to notice he's there.

That said, he needs to keep track of the news. If the major headlines in the local towns are different several times, he should probably pick up and go back to step 1 just to be safe. Maybe move to a different country next time.

An alternate plan here is to track down other groundhoggers. If there are three or four living in one major city, he can blend in no problem. Any major events will be attributable to them, not him.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the different security routine for the guards would be a bad step: instead of a single groundhogger behaving differently on repeated days, you now have a whole bunch of people doing so. Which increases the chances that one of them may be spotted by another groundhogger and lead him to Joe. I'm thinking about one guard complaining about a sprained ankle in some pub after his shift ended, but doing so only on one repeat day because on the other days he took a slightly different path and did not get injured. A groundhogger overhearing this would become highly suspicious. $\endgroup$
    – MvG
    May 25, 2016 at 8:29

Set up a routine you do every single day, like an OCD thing.
Kind of like get up, get dressed, get breakfast, etc. Something he does that is always the same whether it's a loop day or a fresh day. Anything he only wants to do once he should do the first day, like read the paper. That way on the loop days it looks like he never reads the paper and no one will notice.

Edit: the point of the routine is to blend in by becoming part of the scenery.
"That's just Joe. He's in every day."
Past that try to avoid situations where you're going to be tempted to finish sentences.

After winning the lottery Joe doesn't need to work for a while, so then he should have a few random choices to pick from for the days activities.

That way he'll keep from repeating the same stuff over and over, and if he really enjoyed something he can do it twice.

Edit: Some activities would be skill classes, ones with minimal lecturing; art, welding, music, blacksmithing, etc. Things where repeating it over and over just make you better.

  • $\begingroup$ People with OCD would love to do anything only once. $\endgroup$
    – djechlin
    Feb 10, 2016 at 0:49

Get used to reading lots of books, solving lots of crosswords, etc. These are activities that you look exactly the same the first or seventh time you do them, and it doesn't exactly make you prodigious to read three times as much or solve a crossword three times as fast as others.

It's not quite as strong as "routine," but rather a day that looks different to you but the same to others.

It's probably easier to adapt to an introverted, solitudinous, but not quite hermetic lifestyle.

I'd be more careful with TV, learning foreign languages, etc., which take different people about the same amount of time. It's interesting if you know French, but might stand out if you know 7 European languages (without plausible cover).


Fight back

I know you have different story in your head, but Joe should change his mindset. He has means and time to fight those *@#! back:

  1. Obtain weapons: As it looks like, Joe is from USA. So although there are going to be some gun regulations, my stereotypical thinking about USA tells me that this step should be not so hard (especially when you have money)
  2. Train self: Again, Joe has time, means and motivation. Spend it on some training. Martial arts, Krav Maga, or something like that
  3. Observe your surroundings Other groundhoggers should be recognizable, because they (hopefully) adhere to same rules as Joe does
  4. Learn to lie: Basically most important skill. What happens if other groundhogger kills you on your "looping day"? I suppose you wake up the next morning. So if Joe is close to getting killed/detained, he should lie about the fact that he knows it is his looping day. That should buy him some time and give him some advantage
  • $\begingroup$ It seems a bit unlikely that Joe could successfully fight back against an organized crime group. Even though he has 3 to 7 attempts and some time to train, those guys have way more experience, manpower and gunpower. $\endgroup$
    – user8808
    Jan 15, 2016 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Roux I did not get the feeling from the question itself that the others are organised group. But anyway, as a writer, I can confirm you that one determined éperson can do a lot :) $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2016 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ There are advantages to working in a group, but there are also disadvantages. If he manages to anonymously kill an other hog, well... he does have to repeat it should the day loop, or they will know he's one of them. Any time he manages a noloop kill, though, there's one less. This should be a pretty high percentage of the population. $\endgroup$
    – The Nate
    May 23, 2016 at 20:23

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