An Excerpt From My Graduate School Thesis, “There’s No Such Thing As A Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

(From Page 12, Paragraphs 2 through 4)

“Southern hemisphere countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile all have substantial pumpkin crops that are exported to the United States for Halloween, but surprisingly none of these crops (on average) are great. Most pumpkins from the geographical region are under-sized, shriveled at times, and come with seeds inside that are not worthy of cooking on a baker’s sheet to create the great American snack of toasted pumpkin seeds. But ask foreign ambassadors of agriculture from the regions if they think their pumpkin exports are “great” and you’ll get a response that neither answers the question or officially claims any greatness whatsoever. It’s no wonder, then, that the United States is faced with a problem of pumpkin greatness that Charles Schultz plunged us into in 1966 upon the premiere of his unrealstic representation of pumpkin picking — “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Then what of the agriculture situation here in the United States? With global warming becoming worse with each progressing decade, the pumpkin patches in the Northern hemisphere have dwindled over the years. A 1999 research grant gave the Ministry of Agriculture the funds to see just how fast such residential pumpkin patches were in a decline and the results confirmed just that. Since 1999, the relative amount of pumpkin patches in residential areas (on corners, in vacant lots, outside commercial real estate) has declined alongside the amount of “great” pumpkins being produced in agriculture regions of the United States. That is, each year the United States has to rely on outside suppliers (i.e. other countries) for their pumpkins in an attempt to convince the American public that there are still “great” pumpkins to be had. Sadly, the reality is that the chance of buying a great pumpkin in 2003 is more fairy tale than reality.

A recent agricultural symposium held in Boise, ID and attended by the world’s most significant experts on the subject of “great pumpkins” tackled the question: ‘Will the U.S. see any more great pumpkins in the next decade?’ The answer was addressed by U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Agriculture Specialist, Frank L. Selders who said, ‘It’s no longer a question of IF there’s any more great pumpkins being grown — it’s a question of where will we find them. The Border Protection staff continues to monitor plants and vegetables coming over the Mexico/U.S. border but in two years of increased security check-points we have only come in contact with shrimpy pumpkins, deformed pumpkins and the kind that smell like cheese. Sadly, a decade from now we will not be wondering if there are any great pumpkins but rather where they have all gone.'”

11 comments on “An Excerpt From My Graduate School Thesis, “There’s No Such Thing As A Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

  1. Jerry - October 31, 2006 at 8:52 am -

    Damn that Global Warming! Scurge of the Earth and wrecker of Western Civilization’s greatest holiday traditions. First the Great Pumpkin withers and bakes under increasingly dry and hot growing seasons. Next Santa’s Sleigh will need to be adapted with some form of rollers to allow for travel from dry rooftop to dry rooftop on those soon to be norm Non-White( and dare I say not even below freezing) Christmas Eves. I suspect not even Santa’s Workshop will not bode well in the rising waters of the melting polar ice caps.

  2. Hilary - October 31, 2006 at 8:52 am -

    Personally, I hate the smell of pumpkin. So a pumpkin that smells like cheese would be a welcome addition to my pumpkin selection.

  3. Pauly D - October 31, 2006 at 9:00 am -

    Jerry – And don’t forget about the tooth fairy’s teeth rotting out because of the lack of safe drinking water, thanks to the melting of the radioactive ice caps.

  4. The Centaur - October 31, 2006 at 9:05 am -

    Paul, the Wall Street Journal seems to support your analysis. Great Pumpkin futures have fallen sharply. And firms that invest in pumpkin exploration have seen their share prices decimated. Thankfully, my 401k is no longer heavy on the pumpkin industry.

  5. sandra - October 31, 2006 at 12:12 pm -

    Why do they have to put the other pumpkins down, is what I want to ask…?

  6. LisaBinDaCity - October 31, 2006 at 12:27 pm -

    I still love “I got a rock.”

    Poor Charlie Brown.

  7. Jeff - October 31, 2006 at 12:41 pm -

    That’s ok. Those pumpkin patches were dangerous places anyway, what with the Red Baron flying around shooting bullets all over the place.

  8. Gina - October 31, 2006 at 6:02 pm -

    I live in Brazil. And I can tell you firsthand that no matter what these hard workers do to produce American Standard Great Pumpkins (pumpkinus morbidobesitius) they are simply not getting the results the US wants. So rather than importing these Pretty Good pumpkins, the US is actually holding Brazilian farmers to higher standards, i.e: Great. This means that in the fruit markets here, even in my city, the shelves are literally overflowing with these gigantic gourds that, to the layperson’s eye, look nice and plentiful and satisfying. But there are too many of them, so the prices have dropped, supply totally outweighing demand, fruit markets losing money left and right and needing to make up for it by hiking up their prices on mangoes and avocadoes, which has sent all of us into tizzy. And thus, the US has its fingers in yet another South American crisis for which it has no concern nor solution.

  9. Amy - October 31, 2006 at 6:19 pm -

    You look hot in pink, Pauly.

  10. susan - November 1, 2006 at 7:01 am -

    Did your graduate school professors sound like: “Bwah, bwah, bwah, bwahbwah, bwah bwah.”?

  11. Pauly D - November 1, 2006 at 8:50 am -

    Gina – I am so glad you shared this with my readers, especially how heartless the United States is when it comes to Brazillian “pretty good” pumpkins. Let this be a lesson we can all learn from so that agricultural history does not repeat itself again.

    Amy – Of course I do. I’m a Summer.

    Susan – Only one of them did. But she also lost her tongue in a freak stove-top burner S’more accident, so…

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