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Column: Pumpkin spice and politics that aren’t nice, that’s what fall 2020 is made of
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

It’s pumpkin spice season — a season I don’t think COVID-19 can take away from us the way it’s stolen portions of the baseball and football seasons. 

That is, unless everyone starts scrambling for pumpkin spice bread like they did toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic. But maybe what Americans really are scrambling for is pumpkin-spice-scented toilet paper.  

Despite the photos across the internet to the contrary, that’s not a real thing. 

“Annual Fall PSA: we do not make pumpkin spice toilet paper. Even Charmin isn’t THAT basic,” reads a post on the official Charmin Facebook page. 

Except someone made it real on Amazon, so if you want to fork over $7 for one roll of pumpkin spice toilet paper, you can

The price is a bit steep, reviewer Jessica says, but “is it totally worth it when your brother calls you demanding to know why the hell he just got a roll of pumpkin spice TP? Yes.” 

I personally prefer my pumpkin spice with some pumpkin in it. Pumpkin spice bread or muffins are particularly delicious around this time of year. Pumpkin spice toilet paper I can do without. 

The infamous Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte does actually have pumpkin in it. The pumpkin spice sauce used in the recipe includes “pumpkin puree,” according to Starbucks’ website. Of course, there’s also the traditional pumpkin spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. 

The drink was released earlier than it ever has been, on Aug. 25. The weather in Georgia actually dipped to accommodate. The high was just 76 that day and back up to 90 two days later, according to Accuweather

I’ve not seen pumpkin spice get a lot of attention this year, though. We seem a bit too distracted by viruses and politicians. I’d rather argue over who has the best pumpkin spice latte. Or better yet, just sit on my back deck, a warm coffee in hand and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. 

Instead, many are counting down the days until their guy is elected or re-elected — whichever the case may be — and tearing apart amorphous groups of people who obviously have only evil intentions, never mind the fact that not all Republicans are racists and not all Democrats support socialism. 

This time last year, I was writing about my disinterest in football. Now, some of us could really use the distraction. I’d even volunteer to watch some football if it could move the rhetoric of our country toward something more unifying. 

Alas, even a moment of unity on the field of the first NFL game divides. And today, people all over Twitter have political opinions about the Chiefs and Texans linking arms, the crowd that booed, what exactly they booed and so on. 

I’ll stick with my disinterest in football. 

But my interest in unity remains. So, if we can’t unify against racism, or against socialism, or against the coronavirus, can we unify for something? 

Can we unify in support of the cool weather of fall, which kills off the mosquitoes and fruit flies that have been annoying me almost as much as the political pundits? 

Can we unify in support of having toilet paper affordable and available — and without pumpkin spice scents — at the grocery store? 

Can we unify for comforting hot beverages, be they Pumpkin Spice Lattes, hot chocolate or green tea? 

Or will we devolve back into the culture wars over even the cups we put those hot beverages in? At this rate, we all may be thankful if we make it to Christmas to argue again about whether the Starbucks Christmas cup design means the company is waging a war on religion. 

Let's unite instead in a commitment to find some point of unity. If it’s not politics, or football, or coffee, or weather – let's find something. And once we’ve built a little respect for one another over something we share, we can move on to the points of disunity. 

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident. 

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