Colin Nissan's Never Before Seen Early Drafts of "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers"

Today's the first day of autumn, so it's officially decorative gourd time. Every year on the Tendency, we ring in the season by re-posting Colin Nissan's classic piece, which many readers consider the McSweeney's Internet Tendency article of them all.

To help celebrate, I'm posting here - for the first time ever (with Colin's gracious permission) - the initial drafts of "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers," including the email exchanges between Colin and me as we worked on getting the piece ready for publishing. It provides an inside look at how the Tendency article that sold a thousand mugs took shape and became the autumnal cultural phenomenon it's been for 8 years (!) running.

Happy fall, fuckfaces!

- Chris


- - -

TO: [email protected]

FROM: Colin Nissan

DATE: 9/9/09

SUBJECT: Submission - Gourd Season

Hi Chris, I'm not sure what your stance is on excessive swears, but this one is riddled with them. I thought I'd send it along anyway to see what you thought.

Thanks for taking a look.
Colin

It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.
By Colin Nissan

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my fucking dining room table. That shit is going to look so goddamned seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker cocksucker, dust it off and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shelacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, blammo! Check out my shellacked fucking decorative fucking vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is? It’s fucking Fall. There’s a goddamned nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, Aren’t those gourds straining your neck? And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, It’s fall, dickheads. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fucking fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing a fucking all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Different Strokes – specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very fucking important commonality. They’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting to you, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this shit anymore.

The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the fucking Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers, then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker until the sun comes up. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of mishapen, zuccini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very sterotypical Italian laugh coming from me. I fucking warned you.

But right now all I want to do is kick back and thumb through Martha Stewart’s Fall issue. That crazy bitch has some mind-blowing pinecone crafts in there that I plan on enjoying a really fucking confusing Autumnal tug session to.

- - -

TO: Colin Nissan

FROM: McSweeney's Web Submissions

DATE:  9/15/09

SUBJECT: RE: Submission - Gourd Season

Hi, Colin  -

I think this is funny, but it might funnier if the voice was a tad less crude. Most of the fuckings are fine, but the masturbation line at the end sort of turns him into more of a degenerate than he really needs to be. I think a guy so into decorative gourds that he drops F-bombs left and right is funny enough. Anything more and he comes off too abrasive.

So if you’re up to tinkering with the ending a little, have at it and send it back.

Best,
Chris

- - -

TO: [email protected]

FROM: Colin Nissan

DATE: 9/16/09

SUBJECT: Gourds Redux

Hi Chris, thanks for saving me from myself there. Something felt wrong about this one and I think masturbation was the problem. It definitely got creepy.

Anyway, I tried a different ending, let me know what you think of this one.

Thanks Chris,
Colin

It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.
By Colin Nissan

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my fucking dining room table. That shit is going to look so goddamned seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker cocksucker, dust it off and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shelacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, blammo! Check out my shellacked fucking decorative fucking vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is? It’s fucking Fall. There’s a goddamned nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, Aren’t those gourds straining your neck? And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, It’s fall, dickheads. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fucking fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing a fucking all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Different Strokes – specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very fucking important commonality. They’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting to you, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this shit anymore.

The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the fucking Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers, then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker until the sun comes up. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of mishapen, zuccini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very sterotypical Italian laugh coming from me. I fucking warned you.

For now, all I plan to do is 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 gloomy avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

- - -

TO: Colin Nissan

FROM: McSweeney's Web Submissions

DATE:  9/17/09

SUBJECT: RE: Gourds Redux

This version works for me. My only suggestions is to say “that wicker fucker” instead of “that wicker cocksucker.” To me that rolls off the tongue a little better. Plus I like how the only real expletive he uses is fuck or variations of fuck. Actually, with that in mind, maybe he should say “It’s fall, fuckos” instead of “dickheads” at the end of the second paragraph.

- c

- - -

TO: [email protected]

FROM: Colin Nissan

DATE: 9/17/09

SUBJECT: RE: Gourds Redux

Sounds good to me. I changed the wicker line. How do you feel about "fuckfaces" instead of "fuckos?" - there's something I like about that for some reason. I dropped it in there, but feel free to change it, of course.

(I think this email exchange might be getting funnier than the essay...)

Thanks Chris

- Colin

It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.
By Colin Nissan

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my fucking dining room table. That shit is going to look so goddamned seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shelacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, blammo! Check out my shellacked fucking decorative fucking vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is? It’s fucking Fall. There’s a goddamned nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, Aren’t those gourds straining your neck? And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fucking fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing a fucking all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Different Strokes – specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very fucking important commonality. They’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting to you, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this shit anymore.

The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the fucking Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers, then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker until the sun comes up. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendent bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. I fucking warned you.

For now, all I plan to do is 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 gloomy avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

- - -

TO: Colin Nissan

FROM: McSweeney's Web Submissions

DATE:  9/17/09

SUBJECT: RE: Gourds Redux

Fuckfaces works for me. I love fuckfaces. Fuckfaces is perfect.

Will post this next month sometime, before gourd season ends.

- c

- - -

TO: Colin Nissan

FROM: McSweeney's Web Submissions

DATE:  10/28/09

SUBJECT: RE: Gourds Redux

Your decorative gourd piece is by far our most read thing in the last couple of months. Congrats, fuckface!

- Chris