The Tragedy of Pumpkin Spice


A female friend of mine recently asked me, “Do you know what season it is?”

“Well,” I replied, “since the leaves are beginning to turn and the stores are already changing over from Halloween crap to Christmas crap, I’m going to take a wild guess and say early fall.”

She frowned. No one appreciates sarcasm anymore.

“No, dummy,” she said. “It’s pumpkin spice season! Isn’t it great?”

Ah, pumpkin spice season: That time when manufacturers put a sickly sweet, imitation pumpkin flavoring or scent into literally everything. It started, as I recall, with Starbucks adding it to one of its twelve-dollar beverages, and spiraled out of control from there.

Now we have pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice potato chips, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin spice bagels, pumpkin spice vodka, pumpkin spice ice cream, pumpkin spice dog treats, pumpkin spice mouthwash, pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin spice jerky, pumpkin spice air fresheners, pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice protein powder, pumpkin spice margarine and pumpkin spice body spray.

There’s a life-cycle for fads in America, and I suspect we’re about to enter the most annoying stage of this one, which means look for pumpkin spice Thanksgiving turkeys, followed by pumpkin spice figgy pudding at Christmas and pumpkin spice champagne for New Year’s.

My fear is that this dreadful trend won’t jump the shark until after the world is afflicted with pumpkin spice toilet paper and pumpkin spice kitty litter.

You’re thinking: “C’mon, don’t be ridiculous. Why would anyone want those things? Cats don’t care what they poop in and does the world really need scented toilet paper?”

Exactly! Of course the world doesn’t need those things – any more than the world needs pumpkin spice nachos, pumpkin spice dental floss, pumpkin spice postage stamps or pumpkin spice 5W30 motor oil.

But we’re likely to get them anyway because – and I think this is the answer to most questions about why insane and annoying things exist – people are nuts.

But then, I’m old-fashioned. I don’t like it when people monkey with things that are already perfectly fine the way they are, especially food.

Take Oreo cookies. Oreos are good, right? No one ever ate an Oreo and said, “It’s okay, but I think it would be better if they turned the filling neon orange and made it taste like pumpkin.”

But Nabisco has done just that. Why? Because people are nuts and someone will buy it, that’s why.

Well, not me. I don’t want blueberry-flavored ketchup or acorn-infused pancakes or coconut cream vodka or toothpaste that tastes like a T-bone steak or scratch-and-sniff shoelaces or potato chips that taste like pizza or pizza that tastes like a burrito or Wild Turkey that tastes like Cold Duck.

Nor do I want a “new and improved” anything, because few things are improved by trying to improve them. What they end up being is just different, and that’s not the same, and once I find something I like, I like it to stay that way.

I guess that what I want – in a world that’s ever-changing – is for people to leave a few things the heck alone! Stop messing with the classics.

All except for Coke.

I really like Cherry Coke. Good job on that one.


1 Comment

  1. I was recently sent an ad for pumpkin spice scented Charmaine ultra soft t paper. Some people never grew up, they wanted those scented markers and crayons as kids and didn’t get them so now everything has to be scented, yuck. As for the coffee, it needs something to mask the taste I suppose.