COLUMN: For Everything, a Season

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to CacheValleyDaily.com. Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at hacaines@gmail.com. His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“We had joy, we had fun,</em>

<em>We had seasons in the sun.</em>

<em>But the wine and the song,</em>

<em>Like the seasons have all gone.”</em>

—from the song “Seasons In the Sun”, by Terry Jacks.

Whenever I am considering writing about a subject in the realms of pop culture, current events, or on the subject of acceptable social mores I often ask the opinions of people that work and/or congregate near Caffe Ibis in downtown Logan. I spend quite a bit of my social time there. I find most of the employees and the daily customers to be keenly sagacious on current events. In short, I am smarter after soliciting their thoughts on these matters.

As such, when I was debating a satirical column that would lampoon the culture of pumpkin spice, I broached the subject with some people who spend at least a part of their daily routine at the intersection of Church Street and Federal Avenue. I was surprised to find that this is a subject that elicits passions on both sides. I learned that this is not a fad. Pumpkin spice is a thing.

Specifically, there were two baristas at Ibis who took umbrage with my plan. One scolded me verbally. The other gave me a look that made me believe she was going to scold me…with a mug of piping hot water. Both baristas are women.

This is what I have learned recently. An attack on Pumpkin Spice World is considered a triggering microaggression that is an embedded dog whistle of White Skin Privilege. Or something.

Whaaaaaa?

Apparently, if I personally criticize the premise of the over-commercialization of pumpkin spice products that now comes every autumn, it is not an exercise in snarky social commentary, but an act of hostile institutionalized sexism. And here I thought my occasional use of the word “broads” to identify women was what made me a chauvinist pig.

OK. I will relent on this subject. I will not excoriate pumpkin spice lattes as cliched. I will not consider pumpkin spice Oreo cookies to be a desecration of a sacred food. I will refrain from spouting off a frothy, 30 minute polemic on how pumpkin spice M&amp;M’s are an affront to the commonly held rules of decency that binds all Americans. I will respectfully decline doing a shot of pumpkin spice vodka as I hang up a “Zion Curtain” between me and the offending parties. And will do my best not to compare people who give their pooches pumpkin spice dog treats to Michael Vick.

There is one point, however, that I will not yield to avoid confrontation. And on this I bring in another favorite Cache Valley institution: the White Owl Tavern. In a social networking post The White Owl uploaded last week promoting a pumpkin-flavored beer they state, “Pumpkin spice season is here.”

Et tu, White Owl? Et tu?

First, pumpkin-flavored beer is a justifiable reason for Mormons to hate us drinkers. Secondly, does pumpkin spice have enough street cred to have its own season? What doesn’t have its own season? I saw another post from a restaurant that declared October 1st was the beginning of “Halloween season”.

No! No! No! This stops here! Halloween does not get to claim the entire month of October! It is bad enough that in Utah, Columbus Day is flat out ignored—which spits in the face of those who are of Italian heritage. You can’t even get half-priced breadsticks at Olive Garden. It’s just Monday.

Add to that, the entire month is now for the consumption of mini-candies and pumpkin flavored everything. Our society of capitalistic slaves has taken away the many great things that come annually in October. We wuz robbed!

I love Halloween. I watch all the classic slasher films from the early 1980’s every year. I volunteer for door duty to give out candy. One of my closest friends has his birthday on Halloween. His party is boss. But that does not mean the entire month belongs to the festivities held on the last day. You get the weekend before the 31st and the day itself.

To everything, a season. November 1st is now Christmas season. It used to be Thanksgiving Night started the Yuletide spirit. We pretty much just ignore that solemn holiday. Now, many people spend their Thanksgiving sitting on lawn chairs waiting for Wal-Mart to open so they can buy faulty televisions at a reduced price. Sad, pathetic suckers.

January 2nd is now the beginning of Valentine’s Day season. We briefly take one day in February to celebrate the legacies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Rutherford B. Hayes by buying mattresses at half off.

St. Patrick’s Day? In Utah, we pay homage to this inspiring Catholic saint by pouring green food dye into Bud Light. This is the most dehumanizing insult to the Irish since Oliver Cromwell walked the planet.

Easter? That used to be a religious season. It coincided with Oscar season. Now that the Oscars ceremony has been moved up, you pretty much spend the last two weeks of March eating marshmallow-shaped bunnies while lamenting how all 297 of your brackets were “busted”.

Right now, my brain is continuously running the famous “Looney Tunes” cartoon of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny arguing over whether its duck season or rabbit season through my consciousness. This is a cry for help. Please, someone give me a hug!

I like pumpkin spice. And I am willing to concede that many people who have a scathing hatred for this flavoring would feel at home at a Donald Trump rally. What I dislike and openly protest is the incessant stream of commercial ventures that treat us all like capitulating zombies.

Our society, with a collective attention deficit disorder cultivated by our addiction to smartphones and social networking, compartmentalizes things into neat boxes we can throw away after an allotted time period has passed. Companies that want us to spend our money on their widgets have found a way to expose this shared quirk to maximize their profits. The price we pay is a deluge of product placements based on their appropriate “season”. Unnecessary in the case of pumpkin spice, especially given how awesome October is all by its lonesome.

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