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Nobody wants to take pumpkin carving classes in the spring. Gourds aren’t in season and people don’t want to put melons on their stoops. I tried for years to make my students understand the depth of skill required to be a real pumpkin artist, but all they ever want is the instant gratification of carving yokel smiles and crooked eyes on a discount pumpkin bought out of a tent in the 7-11 parking lot. I spend the 49-week off-season working as a grocery store demonstrator for an infomercial knife company. I start by carving Gerald from Hey Arnold! into a wax squash (because the kids love him) and handing out plastic olive pitters that might be cut up Wendy’s straws. Then I show the midday, nothing-better-to-do shoppers how to peel a screwdriver, handle to tip, with our patented never-dull paring knife. For only $26.94, they’ll get the utility knife, plus three extra utility knives, ten steak knives, two hunting knives, four paring knives, a mini saw, a handful of fish hooks, and half a bag of multicolored glass marbles. It’s actually not a bad deal, though. That’s not $40, not $90, not $100 $78 $34 $40 $8 $300, but $4000 worth of merchandise for only $26.94. You even get a copy of the lifetime warranty. A laminated copy. And there’s more, there’s always more… if you cut it into a snowflake you’ll get an extra handful of fish hooks and a peach rack.