[January 6, 2011]
I was inspired by this post which chronicles the misadventures of a housewife attempting to make a festive holiday beacon out of a pumpkin. I’m afraid it contains a good deal of misdirected anger toward Martha Stewart (the entrepreneur who provided the instructional foundation for this project), and her empire. It even goes so far as to suggest that Ms. Stewart “take a giant fucking leap off the nearest tall object.”
How very hostile.
These sentiments were fueled by angst, of course–the angst of a woman who chose to employ an electronic drill to bore holes into a pumpkin for fun. This is much like the case of the man who requested and received a tattoo on his chest of a clown having sex with a dolphin on a rollercoaster smoking a bong [1. Just to clarify, this dangling participle was intentional-- the rollercoaster was smoking the bong. You would too if there was a conjoined clown-dolphin couple on you.] and when he realized he may have made an error in judgment, curses the bitch who inked him.
In any case, I’d like to point out that Martha Stewart would not have an empire founded upon the finer points of festooning vegetables if people did not actually aspire to bedazzle pumpkins.
Now, if you were a scientist in a lab plagued by a clan of mischievous little leprechauns who thwarted your work by swapping labels on vials, tampering with the temperature crank on your Bunsen burner, and inking the lenses on your microscope, perhaps the level of vexation expressed in this post would be warranted. That is if your goal were, say, an antidote for anthrax or an organic hair serum that annihilates frizz [2. Someone, please?].
But, from where I sit, if you take a power tool to a vegetable to make. it. pretty, you instantly lose all credibility and allowance for complaint.
In fact, I sincerely hope that if I am one day possessed by the force of Martha Stewart and I sprain my wrist making seasonal pincushions out of persimmons or stain my carpet whilst decorating my dust ruffle for the summer solstice, or superglue my fingers together while applying tiny sequins to my zippy little recipe cards, I will not elicit an ounce of sympathy from anyone.
Just to be clear, I’m all for arts and crafts. These sorts of endeavors are the basis for occupational therapy and are used in many (psychiatric and other) facilities to soothe troubled minds. But may I suggest simpler, less power tool-intensive activities like macaroni necklaces and fingerpainting and play-doh.
I’d also like to suggest that pumpkin pie is delicious. The next time you encounter an unused pumpkin, consider eating it [3. Pumpkins are also nutritious, packed with fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium among other nutrients.].
And when it comes to beacons, frankly, I prefer winter watermelons–soaked in lighter fluid, burning on a festive torch to symbolize the warmth of the holiday season. If you’re on a budget [4. And you may not be on a budget if you're willing to invest in glitter and glue and drills and tiny lights for the sake of an ornament], it’s also kinder on the electric bill.
All in all, my concern here is less for Martha, who I’m sure will be just fine, and more for the innocent pumpkins exploited in the execution of this project.
I can just imagine her now: Paula, pumpkin, and proud mother of four. She is widowed. Her husband was sacrificed to become the head of a scarecrow, proudly protecting an acre of wheat from devastation by marauding birds. Her eldest son, Jack, was the center of a holiday tradition at the Smith house down the street. His grinning face brought much joy to the neighborhood children. The twins, Mark and Maria, became a hearty pumpkin pie and spiced pumpkin bread. But her youngest one, John. Oh, Paula may never recover from the shock of hearing what had become of John. He was covered in glue, coated in glitter, drilled full of holes and lit up from the inside out by tiny little battery-operated lights. Oh, the horror.