Ruben got me a pumpkin -- my first pumpkin -- and it has been sitting on my dining room table for over a week because I don't know how to go about dealing with it. I really have no idea how I'm even to cut into it short of chopping it open with an axe (and I'm not really the axe-bearing kind), or what I am supposed to do with it afterwards. I feel sort of afraid of it: I actually avoid sitting at the table when Ruben isn't here because it is so enormous that I am conscious of its presence. I cannot tell you how the presence of a large pumpkin, just sitting there quietly not even respiring, but mutually Aware beneath its outwardly impassive surface, affects me. (Ruben sometimes affects me the same way, but I can tickle his feet.) I know I am given authority over this pumpkin and that I need to exercise dominion of it but I am not sure quite how. So please help. Do I bake it first and then divide it into parts? Do I whittle away at it for years with a blunt tableknife? Do I throw it down seventy times seven and gather up twelve baskets full? What happens if I just let it sit there? Will it grow supercilious?

(I think Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes once pointed out to his mother how difficult it is to cook when you anthropomorphise the vegetables.)