AUTHOR: Colin Nissan at McSweeneys

LENGTH: 489 ironic, obscenity-laced words

PRETEXT: Ringing in seasonal good-tidings with an ode to autumn traditions such as arranging gourd bouquets, carving pumpkins, aping scarecrows and reenacting an episode of "Diff'rent Strokes"

ACTUAL MISSION: "To get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table."

A GUIDE TO CREATING A PROPER GOURD:
First, dust off your horn-shaped wicker basket, "jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables" then "throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through"

THE DESIRED RESPONSE TO PROPER GOURDING:
"When my guests come over it's gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is--fucking fall. There's a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash."

THE NATURAL NEXT STEP:
Creating a gourd necklace. If people ask if the heavy necklace is hurting your neck, reply "It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not." Make sure to thread another gourd onto the necklace.

'SHOUT-OUT TO OUR PILGRIM FOREFATHERS':
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, what "I'm going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower"

WHY? BECAUSE IT'S FALL:
"For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer."

[Editor's note: the gourd piece originally ran in McSweenys in 2009, but like the changing seasons, we like to think it'll never get old. We think.]