The other day, as I was sitting in a seminar, I realized that there was something new in the air. I took a whiff. Was it hope? No, it was definitely not as good as hope. Was it Fall? No, it definitely wasn’t as utterly soul-crushingly miserable as the season that heralds with pathetically flashy displays of leaf color and gourds the impending death and darkness of winter. No, it was just pumpkin spice coffee ““ and I realized that for the foreseeable future, pumpkin would be everywhere.
I like pumpkin just as much”¦ No, sorry. I was going to say that I like pumpkin just as much as the next person, but given the ferocity with which people have jumped onto the pumpkin train (sample conversation: “Let’s make mac and cheese!” “NO! Let’s make mac and cheese WITH PUMPKIN!” “Fuck that, let’s make pumpkin and cheese WITH PUMPKIN! Take that mac! We don’t want nunya ’round here! It’s Autumn Time!”), I sincerely doubt that I like pumpkin just as much as the next person. But I like it OK. I am not anti-pumpkin”“I just don’t get it the way some people get it.
I feel like a stranger in a strange land. With the falling temperatures and the slowly disappearing sunlight, there seems to be a temporary madness that falls upon Americans. The energy and drive that in the summer was channeled toward barbecuing and going on float trips has now metamorphosed into an all-consuming pumpkin-mania. Pumpkin gets pushed into coffee, cookies, cakes, scones, pasta dishes, side salads. Heck, for all I know, someone somewhere is shoving the canned orange gloop into the body cavity of a perfectly dressed and ready for baking turkey. I can picture them writing it up on their blog and calling it “An Autumnal Feast” and decorating their dinner table with old husks of corn purchased from a craft story, Sandra Lee style.
But maybe things won’t play out that way this year: there is talk that we might experience a pumpkin shortage this year. When I close my eyes, I see hundreds of people wandering the aisles of grocery stores, eyes frantically searching the shelves for pumpkin, fresh or canned. It’ll be more valuable than gold. Reporters, inspired by the popularity of “Texas tea” will take to calling it “America’s Golden Boogers” before switching back to “pumpkins.” Families will go pumpkin-pie-less, children will weep while watching their parents attempt to carve ghoulish faces into bananas and zucchinis, and the man who grew the world’s largest pumpkin will sell chunks of his gigantic gourd to a pumpkin-deficient crowd. He will find himself recouping all he lost in the stock market, and more. He will be the one percent.