Religion, Politics and the Great Pumpkin

"Who will cut the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Each year, Associated Students UCLA holds a pumpkin carving contest.

I work in the ASUCLA marketing department. Last year, we submitted the whale from Pinocchio and placed second behind Bruce from Finding Nemo. The year before that, we submitted Mike from Monsters, Inc. and placed first. They were both elaborate pumpkins. What do you expect from marketing people?

This year, no one at work seemed to care about the pumpkin carving contest. Josh brought back a pumpkin two weeks ago and it just sat in the office. We halfheartedly brainstormed ideas, but apathy prevailed.

It didn't help that Josh chose a poor pumpkin. It was size of a barrel. One side was flat and the other was parabolic. Josh said he picked said pumpkin because he thought "it would be challenging." Yeah, challenging to make stand upright.

All pumpkins had to be submitted on Friday morning. By Thursday afternoon, I assumed we weren't going to submit a pumpkin this year. I asked my boss Manny about the pumpkin carving and he said my newbie co-worker Tony and I could do it.

I'm absolutely terrible at handiwork, but I figured I'd step up and give our department something to show. Tony will help me, I thought.

Because of time, the concept was simple: one side would have a Dawn of the Dead carving and the other side would have a Shaun of the Dead carving. Pumpkin of the dead.

Tony helped me tape stencils on the pumpkin, carved a little slit and then decided that he would rather work on his Flash advert and bailed, leaving me to carve the pumpkin alone.

The flesh of the pumpkin was at least two-and-a-half inches thick. Even the longest pumpkin carving knife I had couldn't penetrate all the way through. I had to use a kitchen knife and a boxcutter to complete cuts, resulting in a loss of detail due to unclean cuts.

Meanwhile, I heard Manny (who supposedly had a ton of work to do) in his cubicle giggling with Marsha.

I grew frustrated at the uncooperative pumpkin and bitter at my unsupportive co-workers.

When I finished carving the Dawn of the Dead side of the pumpkin, it looked like crap.

—What IS that? Greg asked.

Unidentifiable crap.

I hated the carving. I hated how much I sucked at carving. I hated how hard this pumpkin was to carve. I hated how no one would help me carve it. I hated this stupid pumpkin carving contest.

And then I snapped.

Disgusted with my work, I cut my carving out of the pumpkin with the kitchen knife, creating a large hole on one side of the pumpkin. That would have been enough to end our department's contest prospects, but my unchecked emotions drove me even further.

I started whacking the pumpkin with the kitchen knife like it was jungle brush.

—You stupid…FUCKING…PUMPKIN! I hate you so…FUCKING…MUCH!

Then I dropped the knife and started ripping the pumpkin apart with my hands and throwing pieces of it all over the work table. A minute or so later, I broke down in tears.


Needless to say, Manny relieved me of my pumpkin carving duties.

After I ravaged the pumpkin, the rest of the office came together and tried to salvage what was left of my mess.

—This piece kind of looks like the Hollywood Bowl.
—We could make an Easter basket.
—What about the Rose Bowl? With little seats.

NOW you people decide to work on the pumpkin, I thought. Fuckin' A.