It’s the time of year that you expect to see orange and black ghosts, witches and vampires along the aisles of the local supermarket. Halloween is a bare two months away everyone is getting ready to celebrate some innocent anxieties.
But the cheese aisle at the Freeport Shaw’s caught me completely off guard. There, above the assorted hard Cheddars, Goudas and big balls of mozzarella, was a yellowed page torn from a newspaper, framed and surrounded by American flags. It compared the Lincoln-Kennedy assassinations, highlighting the similarities: both presidents were succeeded by Southern Democrats named Johnson; Lincoln’s assassin fled from a theater to hide in a warehouse while Kennedy’s assassin fled from a warehouse to a theater. That kind of thing.
It seems that they’d devoted a corner, socked away behind the cheerful autumn Halloween treats, for more adult anxieties and conspiracy theories.
I thought it was odd, until I began noticing similar, more subtle displays. The Home Depot, for example, has started replacing lawn furniture and grass mowers with gasoline powered generators, gun safes and other survival gear.
Popular Mechanics has devoted its entire October issue to surviving disasters. The cover even shows a man facing down an Apocalyptic sunset with a flashlight in his hand. Even Wal-Mart has moved the bottled water to the front, not to quench a summertime beach-thirst but to stock a midwinter survival chest in a corner of the basement.
The Home Depot changes, at least, makes sense in Maine. Winter is right around the corner with promises of ice storms, snow clogged roads and record high heating oil prices. The pastel-hued days of summer 2009, brief as they were, are gone for good.
But it’s more than common sense, stocking up. You get the feeling that the stores are preparing for a long, paranoid winter of bad weather, swine flu and oil shortages.
And it goes beyond the weather. We have the entire “Birther” movement to contemplate as well as people freaking out about the president addressing school kids. And then, the Today Show devoted a Labor Day morning segment to UFO conspiracy theories.
The answer is clear my friends. We’re gearing up for a serious late Autumn wig out.