Saw Halloween gummies at the store last week. Makes sense: Labor Day is over, so naturally you roll out the harvest-hued mucilage nubbins. Why, the customer would be confused if they didn't. Or would they? Possible reactions:
1. Thank you for the reminder that the season of holidays is en route, the great blurry parade of Hallowthanksmasyear's Eventine's Day, and that I regard its approach with the same sense of shock and disbelief as someone who's watching the sleeve of his shirt get caught in industrial machinery.
2. Oh, I'd better buy them now before they're gone and I find myself facing October envying the people whose gummies are festive and seasonally adjusted. Of course, if I do buy them now, they'll be like fossilized pencil erasers in two months. Maybe I'll can them.
It's the iron rule of merchandising — as soon as one season's done, move it to the SALE aisle and start pushing the next down everyone's throat with the splintery handle of a toilet plunger.
Is the season really done? Yes, you say. C'mon. Fair's over; it's fall. But it was 90 degrees last week, the trees still blaring green like a brass band that knows one note only: SUMMER. What else would you call it? Fummer? Sall?
That's the problem with September: Meteorological summer extends to the 21st, but if you say "we're going to take our summer vacation in the second week of September," people look at you as if you've said "after I'm guillotined, I'd like to hit the hat store."
There's a solution. I am prepared for derision, but hear me out.
Labor Day should be moved to the third Monday of the month. By then we're ready. The sun has lost its strength. The leaves are drained. The quality of light at 4 p.m. turns on some signal buried in the brain that says, "OK, oatmeal and caramel apples and quilts now, please," and we're ready. We can end daylight saving time on that date as well. Closure. Finality.
If you think that's ridiculous — the holidays don't determine when the seasons start and end — think of the day after Halloween. Technically, Fall. The first snowflake falls Nov. 1, and we all know: it's winter. Regardless of what color the gummies are.