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The Pestilence of Pumpkin Spice

What do you think of when you think about pumpkin spice?

One of my colleagues, Captain H., thinks about mouthwatering doughnuts and foamy lattes. But he is suffering from delusions of pumpkin-spiced grandeur. He is seeing a pumpkin-shaped mirage in the desert of his existence. He has these crazy sentimental notions of crisp fall days, shorter afternoons, the frenetic energy of the coming holidays, the early Christmas decor at Wal-Mart. But I tell you, this is not the true face pumpkin spice.

What are the true images of pumpkin spice? It’s the headless horseman. It’s haunted houses and ghouls and demonic spirits preying upon the goodness of humankind. It’s Sally, waiting for the Great Pumpkin, who, like Santa Clause in the Middle East or third world countries, never shows up.

We haven’t yet even broached the topic of physical attributes. Pumpkins are orange, the color of those dreadful Formica countertops from the 1950’s. They are short and bulbous, as if they are mocking the plague of American obesity. Their evil grins and glowing eyes, freshly hewn from their soft flesh, a picture from some ghastly chainsaw horror film.

That is the true face of pumpkin spice.

Like you, I am asking, “Why is there no war on pumpkins?” Is this not the time for a federal task force? Is there no one to appoint a Pumpkin Czar? The answer, sadly, is that the National Gourd Association, which says they have the interests of America’s children at heart (but really cares only for their own special interests) has too much power. And they are willing to squash anyone who objects to their narrow Cucurbitan tastes.

Remember the good old days when chocolate, and not pumpkin spice, was the focal point of family culinary life? Together, we must do our part to restore the chocolate-covered doughnut to its proper place in American cuisine.

Unlike the horrible pictures invoked by the Pumpkinists – or “Patchers” as they sometimes like to be known – chocolate brings to mind only images of love, affection, plenty, and emotional well-being. The smells and tastes of America’s favorite confection invoke valentines we adore, stockings hung with care, and egg-laying bunnies. What could be sweeter, lovelier, or more wholesome – indeed, what could be more Amurican than that?

Chocolate improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure, raises HDL (the “good” cholesterol), improves brain function, and even protects your skin from the sun. Pumpkins, on the other hand, offer nothing but a glut of beta-carotene. Many may well be led to ask, "What is a pumpkin but an over-bloated, hallowed out carrot with strange ribbing?"

One must turn to fairy tales to find any positive instance of pumpkins; but even there it served as only as transportation – and the wretched thing failed even in that meager responsibility once the clock struck midnight.

What does a witch turn you into if she is upset? That’s right…it’s a pumpkin. Is it any wonder, then, that the largest purveyor of pumpkin spice is a coffee company stamps the image of a pagan fertility goddess on each cup? But don’t get me Astarte-d. Let us reject the false teachings of these allspiced pluralists.

Finally, consider the demographic implications. No nation which ever adopted pumpkin spice in history ever recovered from this caffeinated brewhaha. These pumpkins are not refugees from an embattled garden -- they are an invasion force. Their leader has already taken power (you will recognize him by the signature orange glow). All the little pumpkinseed-eating birdees say, "tweet, tweet."

As for Captain H. and his kind, there is little hope. But still there is hope for the rest of us, for God loves the pumpkin, even if He hates the spice.

Blerkins is an eclectic blog of scholarly reflection and cultural commentary for folks who still believe that Western civilization has merit; and that life is far too interesting to give up on, or waste on television.
Our audience tends to be people exasperated with the world but too idealistic to give up on cultural engagement; who swim in a world seemingly devoid of truth, yet are too ethical for hedonism.


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