6 Fun Things About Fall (That Actually Symbolize Death)

Getty, too, knows the wistful dread of autumn
Meanwhile, in Canada, the first reports of White Walkers are coming in.

Hooray, it's autumn again! The best season of the four, when you get to wear that jacket that makes you look cool. I'm particularly excited, because fall was made specifically for us brooding New England Yankees. This is the time of year when we are allowed to smile, which is what our people call a grimace.

Rober Weir/AoC via Wikipedia
YOLO, Goodman Smith, YOLO!

For us, stoic pain is the only pleasure we are permitted to know. But for all of you who live in places without seasons, here's why the fall is so great: dark days, strange skies and the smoky scent of mortality mixed with fear. Yes, fall is a dying time, and that's a beautiful thing. Pour yourself a scalding cup of cider and I'll explain.

#6. Fear

So the season of the witch is upon you, and there's nothing for it but to wither and die under a curse. Perhaps you looked a toad in the eye, or spat on a crossroads after midnight. Whatever the reason, your cow has hemorrhoids, your wife's giving sour milk and your dog prophesies a damp harvest in a voice not of this Earth. Also, leaders in every corner of society are protecting their employees from child molestation charges, but let's stick to the imagined terrors.

Even if you do dodge a curse, fall is the fearing time, and with good reason: In autumn, teenagers are four times likelier to be pursued by a knife-wielding maniac with terrible skin. Yes, movie slashers, but I was talking about high school bullies. It seems like fear is everywhere. Why? The answer -- the FINAL answer -- is darkness. Unending, unyielding darkness.

See, October is when the sun gets its paycheck, meaning it blows all its money on booze and only shows up one day in ten -- and on that day, it rolls out of work by 4. So basically, you're living in a chilly void, when the trees turn into corpses with a thousand fingers. This is the teaser trailer for Earth without the Source of All Life. And it's a good reminder to get home and hug your loved ones, because we're all going to become dust, just like the leaves clinging to our clothes.

How It Relates to Death

What's scarier? Dying, or being dead? You have all winter to let the snow pile gently atop your grave roof, but for three months, you fret over when that terminal point will come. Meanwhile, you watch all vitality drain from the Earth even faster than it did from FX's Sons of Anarchy.

I can't stay mad at you, FX
God knows I loved you, SAMCRO, but you chose instead to love yourself.

That's autumn, baby: losing all the resources you spent the first half of the game accruing. The encroaching darkness and desolation are a hemisphere-sized euphemism for our fear of death and decay. It's nature's prettiest way of teaching you the maddening lesson that death is inescapable. But hey, don't worry: Till then, we have caramel apples.

#5. FOOTBALL!!!!*


Football technically commences in summer, but Americans know that it is truly an autumnal battle. The game begins in the wilting heat of August and continues into the bleakest austerity of winter. It is the bridge between unbearable power and insufferable scarcity. The only season that doesn't know football is spring, because that's a time for hope and life, as symbolized by the Final Four delivering us from March Madness.

Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Fun fact: Pro football helmets are equipped with sensors to collect data on a player's internal decapitation, so that in the future, we can shoot it from the best angle.

How It Relates to Death

Weep, ye mortals, for fall is the murthering season. Football is the story of dynasties in decline. Historically, all the best wars really hit their stride after the harvest, when the farmer could put his hoe down and throw down. And let's not kid ourselves; football is warnography. Sure, the NFL pretends to be scandalized by defensive bounties for injuries, but that's like a Chicago politician investigating corruption. The system doesn't work without the scandal.

Fall used to be the time when we slaughtered the fatted hog, but now we ritualistically sacrifice the sleek running back. When the rite is complete, a logy America can lick the blood from its chops and tuck into bed for a month of hibernation. We wake only to rub out prayer-seed for the fantasy wombs of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This, too, is the circle of life, as in the ashes grow the shoots of tomorrow.

Sports Illustrated at its best
You probably didn't know you were part of an ancient fertility cult, but here we all are.

#4. Fall Sweeps

It's ludicrous that TV still runs on a crappy seasonal schedule based on Nielsen ratings, when it should have adapted to the fluidity of modern media five years ago. But since we're still a few TV executive heart attacks away from fixing that mentality, let's enjoy the dwindling tradition of a few people with no taste picking out a new wave of TV shows for the rest of us. Something called a Honey Boo Boo was recently added to America's freak show menagerie, but I'm not watching that; I'm holding out for its competitor -- a reality show about four career criminals locked in a room with a safe full of meth, and each of them knows just one number of the combination.

I'm particularly interested in how The Office will be trying too hard this season.

NBC has lost its way, Pawnee notwithstanding
Early indicators suggest that it will be Angela's slowly building murder-suicide storyline.

But I'm even more excited by UNTITLED CRIME DRAMA. It's about a hunky special agent, his beautiful but tough partner and their oddball lab tech who is also a hacker. All three of them are master criminal profilers. Coming this fall to ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC!

How It Relates to Death

It's cold and dark, so you can flop down on the couch without feeling guilty, much as we all accept death when it comes at last to take us to that undiscovered country. And hey, in a season of darkness and dying, it's nice to enjoy familiar comforts, like watching The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes lose everything he loves.

AMC and all those credits right there
Finally, a soap opera with some teeth.

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Brendan McGinley

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