Recently a dear friend tweeted out that he found a pumpkin ale was for sale here in the month of July. An ale that has always been treated as a Fall Special, for obvious reasons, something with which you sip away crisp fall nights over a fire pit and reminisce about that time you dressed as Michael Meyers for Halloween and scared the living snot out of people.
And I understand as I start this blog that I’m in the dangerous territory of “old man yells at cloud.” I don’t care.
Pumpkin Ales are offered in summer. Christmas sales start in September. For goodness’ sake, there are Halloween decorations on sale by the end of June.
It Used to Matter
It used to matter, the lines between times of year. I think they still matter.
Human beings are, at their core, social beings. They are creatures of habit. Structure gives order to a chaotic universe, the same way bat-s*** crazy conspiracy theories give people a sense of understanding in a chaotic world filled with unpredictable people.
Our very existence is rooted in the idea that time occurs in discrete, measurable increments. After a semester of college-101-level philosophy through the firehose of a 2-minute internet video, everyone becomes a champion of the idea that it’s a lie.
Of course it’s a lie. Time is a concept that makes existence understandable. If we can’t differentiate between the past, the present and the future, then nothing ever started and everything is already over.
That may be well and good as a concept (and in fact one with which I kind of agree), but our traditions and our rituals are what made our lives livable.
For pete’s sake, look at our insistence on immediate gratification coupled with our constant pining for future reward. It’s slathered on a big slab of denial about our past, which we consider beneath our consideration. Everything is about constant motion and the refusal to simply stop and understand.
As we define our present fulfillment as being the first to define the future, discarding the past, we become aimless creatures without mirth or joy. Everything is about being the first to experience the next thing or establish the next definition. We’ve become a culture comprised of pseudo-intellectualism growing from the soil of impatience. We understand nothing while claiming to know more than ever.
As Dexter Jettster might say, we’ve lost the distinction between knowledge and wisdom.
I know how crazy this sounds, to riff like this off a tweet structured to snipe at the beer manufacturers who have become more wrapped up in the pumpkin ale gimmick than in the craft of making a good pumpkin beer.
But it’s a symptom of the erasure of these lines, these structures that help make our world make sense. And we need those structures.
Otherwise we might just wind up caring about football inflation pressure, or costing someone their livelihood for a simple disagreement, instead of dealing responsibly with serious issues in our society.