Everything’s coming up pumpkins


The following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try to give all of the material posted on this site.

I always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more than 50,000 words by the end of November.

Thank you.

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It seems to be worse this year.

The pumpkin craze.

I mean… it is everywhere.

(Seriously… have you been in a Dunkin Donuts?)

Within three miles of my home, I have a couple of Dunkin Donuts shops. (You probably do as well.) I also have several other coffee joints. Including all of these java huts, as I sit here in November of 2013 to write this, a partial list of available pumpkin items includes…

Pumpkin coffee
Pumpkin hot chocolate
Pumpkin latte
Pumpkin smoothies
Pumpkin bread
Pumpkin donuts
Pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin cookies
Pumpkin whipped cream

Now this is, as I mentioned, a partial list. Amazingly… and I actually took a drive this morning to check… as of yet, no sightings of pumpkin juice.

Still, it is pretty crazy.

(What is not crazy are pumpkin whoopie pies… Arremony’s Quality Bakery… jaw-droppingly awesome from a jaw-droppingly brilliant bakery. We will not be making fun of those.)

What isn’t hard to see is that fall themes and decorating are now at a level to rival any of the seasons or holidays. You are as likely to see inflatable ghosts and cornucopias in October and November as you are to see an inflatable Santa in December. By no means am I suggesting that these holidays have overtaken (or can even approach) Christmas in terms of scope, hype, hysteria or monetary measures. But, when you reach a point where Christmas overload is a real thing, inflating a giant turkey on your lawn while stringing up witch-themed exterior lights around the windows are nice touches by those looking to exploit our mass consumerism in a new way.

Hey… look… I’m not complaining. I bought the gingerbread Twix to try them. (They were ok… are honestly, barely even that… not at all great, and I wouldn’t miss them if I never had them again.) I was in a Red Robin and tried a gingerbread shake. (AWESOME! Highly recommended.) And I will soon have a forest of decorated trees filled with inflatable penguins and such on my lawn.

I enjoy the seasons… like the celebrations… love many of the decorations… cherish the traditions… and participate in the consumerism craze. All year round.

The thing is… this year… it’s just all of the pumpkin.


Pumpkin… pumpkin… pumpkin… pumpkin…

There has been pumpkin in the candy bars, and pumpkin in spreads for crackers, and pumpkin side dishes for your holiday tables. Appetizers and meals and desserts and snacks, while at the same time filling the container in your car’s cup holder as you make the rounds of holiday errands to get the pumpkin-themed goodies for the pumpkin-season holiday events.

The Great Pumpkin became a part of Peanuts legend more than fifty years ago. And these days, Linus doesn’t have to wait for an appearance… the great pumpkin is everywhere!

People are buying the lattes and muffins. Many of them are delicious (though I suspect many more are not).

And many of those same people that cry and kick and scream in terror mixed with fear mixed with disgust when Santa makes his first appearance over Labor Day weekend I have found tend to be many of the same people picking up an inflatable Frankenstein. One man’s sleigh bells are another man’s jack-o-lanterns.

The reality is, Linus is probably right: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com