Extreme pumpkin carving

There came a point in time when Tom Nardone had had enough. Something he loved as a child had morphed into something obscene and alien. What he saw offended him. I’m not saying Tom snapped, cracked, broke down, freaked out or even cried like a girly man.
Like all good men who see something amiss, in true cowboy fashion, Tom decided to right the wrong. He took matters into his own hands. And, extremepumpkins.com was born.
Metro Detroiter Tom said the final straw in the new politically correct world of pumpkin decorating (ruled by iron-handed and safety obsessed soccermoms) happened a year ago. His lovely bride, Lisa, had returned from a craft show with the latest groove in pumpkin decorating — sticking stuff into pumpkins to make them look like, of all things, turkeys.
On the opening page of extremepumpkins.com, Tom explains it this way:
‘At what point did the carving of pumpkins turn into a ‘cute? event? When did boys stop carving pumpkins and moms start? . . . Today we will seize back this ritual. Today is the day we throw away those safe, cute carving tools. Today. We will buy a big, ugly, pumpkin so large one man cannot lift or move it. Today. We will carve that $#@%& into something ugly and plop it on the front porch. October 31st we will light it brightly enough to give visiting children suntans . . .?
And, in his words, pumpkin carving was ‘reborn.?
While Tom may not be one of those computer geek guys with a pocket protector and taped-up eye glasses, he does make a living in the new brave world of computers and the internet. About six years ago he started shopinprivate.com, ‘Where you can buy things on the internet that are embarrassing to buy in the store,? he said.
The internet retail business has been good. So when the idea to take back his favorite Halloween ritual popped into his head, he wanted to share it with like-minded folks. The way to do that was to put it on-line. Like the tide of trick or treaters hitting the pavement when the starting siren sounds, the word of extremepumpkins.com spread.
‘I came home from work last year and there was a Fox 2 News van in my driveway. I wondered if something was wrong,? Tom said. ‘Nope. They were just there for the pumpkins. They said they were waiting for me to get home from work for a couple of hours.?
Last year, to meet the public’s demand for extreme pumpkins, Tom actually did go crazy. He and his drinking buddy Matt carved nearly 70 pumpkins. The novelty of a mass pumpkin slaughter must have worn a little over the past 365 days.
‘This year I’m thinking about carving 10,? he admitted.
Of the 10, he said he has an Election Year idea folks are sure to like.
‘I’m gonna carve one of George Bush and one of John Kerry. I’ll take pictures of them every couple of days to see how they rot. I don’t know what that will mean — whoever rots first wins the election? — but, it should be fun.?
The photos will be posted on the website.
A man’s man, Tom likes carving his pumpkins with tools he finds around the house. His favorite cutting utensil is not a knife at all — it’s an electric jigsaw. ‘It makes carving so easy.?
Somewhere off in the darkness I can hear comedian Tim Allen grunting his approval.
Extemepumpkins.com has plenty of ideas for pumpkin carving. The site has pictures of pumpkins Tom and his friends have carved, as well as jack-o-lantern pictures from around the universe.
Tom’s idea of a good jack-o-lantern is one that is shocking, funny or gross. Instead of trying to describe any of his favorites, I say just go to the website. When you visit the website go with an open mind. Don’t be judgemental, just have fun with it.
When you have finished, I am sure you will come away invigorated, ready to fire up the power tools and dig into the pumpkin on your porch with renewed gusto. Tom invites us all to take pictures of our creations and to send them to his website. There’s even a contest with prizes! Use your digital camera and e-mail the pictures to: halloween04@shopinprivate.com
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