Giant pumpkins are a clear and present danger, and we are not being told about it. Linus of the comic strip Peanuts no longer gives us the heads-up.
Consider in 1900, the largest pumpkin on record weighed in at a modest 400 pounds. Two men could lift it. That was the typical weight of obese pumpkins until 1980, the year after the accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, when they started getting bigger, a trend that continues. Suspicious, eh?
Monster pumpkins this year are coming in at more than 2,000 pounds, with the American champion weighing a scale-busting 2,261.5 pounds. It was grown in Rhode Island.
But maybe there are bigger pumpkins lurking in the Amazon. The Swiss claim a bigger pumpkin, but they would, wouldn’t they?
In the world of Cucurbita maxima (Latin for big pumpkin), these monsters are fit for a pie for the Kardashian family. Have you noticed the Kardashians only seem to do three things: take selfies, conduct social media fights and eat? Just watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”: They are always eating. The family’s many crises are dealt with food. Did Kim go to Maxim’s when her jewels were stolen in Paris?
Actually, pumpkins are good-eating. Always sprinkle cinnamon on pumpkin. Cinnamon is to pumpkins what drawn butter is to lobster: It just belongs.
When I was a boy, I ate a lot of pumpkin and it was either mashed up with or without sugar. My brother and I liked the sugared version, while my father preferred his simply boiled.
But that was before people started growing pumpkins as big as elephants. What is the purpose of a 2,000-pound pumpkin? Do you need a chainsaw to cut it up? Who needs to cook with a vegetable that was brought in on a truck, held down by chains? Even the best-equipped kitchens do not have forklifts.
Worse, there is the way that pumpkins are taking over our politics.
The first politician to show their influence was John Boehner, the former speaker of the House, whose face kept turning pumpkin-orange before our startled gaze.
Now comes Donald Trump, clearly a man who has had sinister dealings with pumpkins: His orange hair is the giveaway. What do the pumpkins want? Can Trump deliver or will Hillary Clinton get the Pumpkin Party endorsement? Some of her pantsuits are already Hubbard squash-colored.
Halloween and Thanksgiving are when the pumpkins come to haunt us. Forget the witches, it is the gourds muscling in on our innocent festivals.
Yet all year in domestic gardens, U.S. Department of Agriculture research centers and in secret pumpkin patches, pumpkins are sucking up nutrients to grow bigger and bigger. Soon they will rival the Trump Tower and the Grand Coulee Dam.
What do they want? Why are they courting our celebrities, our politicians and corrupting our children? Oh, my gourd!
Be afraid, the pumpkins are on the loose for the next month.
Llewellyn King, based in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., is a veteran publisher, editor, columnist and international business consultant. He is host and executive producer of White House Chronicle, on PBS.