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The best season of the year. Fewer tornadoes than in spring, less heat than in summer, and less crap than in winter.

It has the best holidays--Thanksgiving, where all you have to do is eat, then throw the pigskin in the back yard with your cousins while the grown-ups sleep inside from eating too much turkey, and Halloween, where you dress up as a scary monster, tell ghost stories, and eat candy.

The trees change color and start dropping leaves. Football gets started, and it gets fashionable to bundle up, eat pickles, and scream at high school kids to THROW THE DAMN BALL. Pumpkins ripen, and the yearly harvest gets started in full swing. The air gets a little cooler and crisper, and you can hear half-remembered whispers on the wind.

For unknown reasons, I can tell when the first real day of autumn arrives by waiting until I get irresistible cravings for peanut butter cookies. For equally unknown reasons, autumn air always smells, to me, like a combination of pumpkins, cinnamon, chile peppers, ancient Egyptian funereal wrappings, and beer.

Best season of the year, really.