In the final analysis, the pumpkin probably had it coming. As for me, I fully accept responsibility for my role in the whole thing. Mistakes were made. I can’t say I didn’t have fair warning.
What I have heretofore and/or hitherto considered the agendized propaganda of the anti-pumpkin lobby turns out to have been uncanny insight into the malicious, nay diabolical intentions of autumn’s iconic decorative vegetable. Or edible front porch adornment. Adjust — and maybe sprinkle liberally with nutmeg — to suit your own personal belief system.
Did I listen to these people, these sage seers, these pumpkin-haters? Of course, I did! Their message, however dire, was entertaining.
Did I join their cause, vowing to squash the brewing Pumpkin Revolution? No. I did not. And that, my friends, is where my story begins.
Existential exposition and awkwardly inserted foreshadowing.
It may be worth noting that my confrontation with a heavy-duty Thermos ™ travel mug earlier in the week ended in a draw. The mug came away with a busted lid, and I came away with two broken fingernails . . . and no coffee mug.
Looking back, I think I came out slightly ahead in that one. I got to the coffee and that’s all that really matters.
Ok, maybe that wasn’t worth noting, but now that it’s out there, there’s not much either of us can do to un-note it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is life is a struggle, a struggle that often involves restricted access to caffeine and the resulting collateral damage to the feminine aesthetic. Nietzsche wrote that.*
Occasionally that struggle involves being assaulted by pumpkin, and that, my friends, is also where my story begins.
Sweet potato baby food: a gateway to pumpkin? You decide.
In the course of a lovely lunch with some groovy people, the conversation found its way, naturally, to pumpkin. You know how it goes: someone mentions sweet potato baby food and then someone else’s mind quantum-leapfrogs from orange mushy baby food to pumpkin and then takes another quantum leap to pumpkin spice latte. Here’s how it went down in real time –
Groovy person: [World's most adorable baby] likes sweet potato baby food. . .
Quasi-hippie, with sudden alarm: I haven’t had a pumpkin spice latte yet this year!
Real time-lapse: About five seconds. And I wonder why my conversations often end with the other person staring at me incredulously.
I feel bad about that. I really do. I mean the quantum leap to pumpkin spice latte thing. Not the incredulous stares. Those I’m used to. And they’re perfectly justified.
A funny thing happened on the way to Starbucks.
All this talk about orange mushy food inspired me, naturally, to stop on my way home at a local pumpkin patch run by a volunteer organization raising money for a worthy cause. Even as I write that, it occurs to me that you don’t see many people selling sweet potatoes for a worthy cause. I wonder why that is.
(You’re staring at me incredulously, aren’t you?)
Fortunately for me, it’s still a little early in the season, so I roamed freely and at a leisurely pace — no need to knock crybaby toddlers out of my way** — in search of MY perfect decorative vegetable/edible porch adornment.
A nice man offered to carry any pumpkin that was too heavy to my car, and the conversation turned, naturally, to the long stems the pumpkin harvesters had left on these particular pumpkins, how they looked like handles.
Pumpkin in its natural state — except for the broken stem — and in its caffeine-infused state.
Despite having somehow avoided ever taking a physics class, I knew somewhat instinctively, if not by virtue of my own unpleasant dealings with gravity, that lifting a heavy pumpkin by its stem was probably not the best idea.
He wandered off. I found the perfect pumpkin and, by virtue of my fiercely independent nature, I decided to lift the 25-pounder on my own. Here’s how that went down in real time –
Me, inside my head: Bend at the knees, lift with your legs. . .steady. . . stand. . whatever you do, don’t drop . . .
What is it about negative thoughts that makes them so much more easily manifested than positive ones?
You can sign up for a marathon and think to yourself, “I am going to win this marathon!” Chances are, by merely thinking it, you have not increased the odds of winning that marathon.
On the other hand, as soon as you think things such as “Don’t trip over that cord,” “Don’t mess this up,” or “Whatever you do, don’t drop this 25-pound pumpkin and then try to stop its momentum as it tumbles, thereby rolling it over so that it lands on its perfect faux-handle stem and, on its way down, breaks three of the eight fingernails that survived the coffee mug fiasco,” — you’ve significantly increased the likelihood of that very thing happening.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re training for a marathon, consider thinking repeatedly, “Whatever you do, don’t win this marathon!”
If you try this, please report back to me.***
In the best interest of everyone involved, the nice man carried my pumpkin to the car. We had a good laugh at how the stems probably weren’t meant as handles and how maybe using the seat belt would be in the pumpkin’s best interest. Looking back, I suspect the pumpkin was laughing, too.
I suppose it could be argued that pumpkins don’t laugh. I don’t know how we can know this for sure. So why bring it up?
Maybe because Laughing Pumpkins would be a good parody band name.
It was just a short while later, as I waited in line at the nearest Starbucks for a grande cup of spicy-sweet, hot, fresh caffeine, that I noticed the true extent of injuries sustained in the Great Pumpkin Tumble, which I now suspect may have been real-time revenge on the part of the decorative vegetable/edible front porch adornment: an open wound.
That’s right: the wounded pumpkin had fought back and only one of us was bleeding.
In the final final analysis, I’m calling this one a draw, too. With the aid of a little antibiotic ointment, some rubber cement, and a few toothpicks, we’re both on our way to recovery.
Then again, maybe I come out a little ahead in this. I got my pumpkin spice latte. That’s all that really matters.
And in a few weeks, only one of us is going to become a jack-o’-lantern and/or pie.
Rubber cement and toothpicks figure prominently in a disproportionate**** number of my personal memoirs.
*Or not. I make things up. But if he’d had to shell out $40 a pop for a manicure, he would have written it.
**I probably wouldn’t do that.
*** Don’t try this. I’m not really a sports psychologist.
**** “Disproportionate” unless you’re McGyver. Rubber cement and toothpicks figure prominently in his stories, too.