We are headed into the fall which, in general, I love. The cooler temperatures, the warm colors of the foliage, the light that turns a golden hue: I love all of these.
But as if thereÂ were an evil force out there seeking to destroy my enjoyment of autumn, yard decorations begin popping up all over the area.Â And they are not simply tasteful shocks of corn and clustered gourds.Â If that were all, I would be at peace.Â But no!Â They are plastic: inflatable and non-inflatable.Â They are kitschy, gaudy, and at odds with the soul of an artist or anyone with any innate sense of taste.
Currently, the decor of the day is fake spider webs, plastic ghoulies, and ghastly bright, plastic orange and purple witches and otherÂ objects of fear.Â Another thing that has reared its ugly headÂ in recent yearsÂ is the faux stone wall that looks as if a kindergartener were commissioned to paint the castleÂ scenery for an elementary school production of Rapunzel.Â These are most commonly placed in front of theÂ local haunted houses and corn mazes open for business around Halloween.Â The Terror Maze and The Panic Box Spookhouse are across a major route from each other andÂ have been vying for each other’s business for several years now.Â As if to compete, a local church a few miles north on the same route has their own HalloweenÂ version of Scared SpirituallyÂ Straight.Â Sometimes I’m so ashamed to live in the Midwest.
But just around the corner from autumnÂ is – shudder - Christmas.Â Don’t get me wrong.Â I love Christmas, but some ofÂ our local yard decorations are almost enough to make a rabidly protestingÂ atheist of me.
On my way to a nearby town one day near Christmas last year, I saw gargantuan blow-up Christmas figures: Santa, snowman, reindeer, and one other thing that I can’t remember.Â They were larger than life with their stupid grins and bodies bobbing in the breeze, and they were arranged in -Â of all things -Â a circle, as if they were having an intimate conversation.Â An irrational hatred rose in my consciousness, and all I could think about was shooting them, watching them deflate, and dancing madly on the lawn around their crumpled bodies.Â As I drove on and saw other inflatables, the same loathing rose again and again.Â But I managed to control myself,Â especially as I had no means of enacting my fantasy.
Imagine my glee when a couple of days later I passed by the very house that gave birth to my violent fancy and saw the four figures deflated on the lawn.Â I pictured the artist-gone-postal who had done the deed and hooted out loud in the car!Â Three cheers for the Kitsch Killer!Â Huzzah!
My season of irrational hatred for yard ornaments lasts from late September intoÂ February, which is when some people finally get around to taking down their yard kitsch.Â Only then can IÂ return to the sense of calm that otherwise possesses me when driving around our area – that is, unless I see a cementÂ Martha Goose dressed in a clown suit.Â (Deep breath in, blow it out slowly.)Â Does anyone have a sledge hammer?