September 11, 2014 11:54 AM EDT

There is a specter haunting America — the specter of the pumpkin spice latte, henceforth referred to as the PSL.

It’s like The Walking Dead up in here, but instead of zombies, every other person, bros and basics alike, is a Starbucks PSL drone. You can’t wear so much as a flannel scarf out of the house without fending off wild-eyed PSL lovers raving about the onset of autumn and the arrival of PSL season.

We used to call it football season, people. This used to be football season.

But lest you take comfort in the oddity of human nature — “oh what cute goofs we can be with our whims” and so forth — know this: the success of the PSL is no accident. It’s a covert campaign on the part of a multinational corporation to pervert your affinity for the holiday season into a manufactured desire for a (gross) beverage, and in so doing subvert the most American of all holidays, Thanksgiving. Yes, I’m talking about a secret army of un-American zombie drone PSL drinkers.

All this hysteria despite the fact that a Starbucks PSL tastes like neither pumpkin nor pumpkin pie (nor for that matter anything that could reasonably be called “pumpkin spice,” whatever that means) and have about as much to do with an actual pumpkin as a cat.

If a PSL doesn’t have to taste even remotely like an actual pumpkin then neither does my hypothetical and far more interesting Beet Spice Latte have to taste like a real beet. And if we’re going to have these abominable pumpkin impostors foisted upon us, I demand additional options. (Aside: pumpkin flavored beer walks a thin line but gets a pass because this is my list and I can make it how I want).

Here, via free association, are fall-inspired lattes I would rather have right now than a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte:

Brussels Sprout Spice Latte

Celery Root Spice Latte

Potato Spice Latte

Turnip Spice Latte

Horseradish Spice Cappuccino (feels a little aggressive without the foam)

Hay Spice Latte

Hayride Spice Latte (Hay, dirt, upset stomach bile)

Halloween Spice Latte (candy, fear)

Candy Corn Spice Latte (sugar, sugar, sugar)

Cavity Spice Latte (flouride, antiseptic, other unidentifiable dentist-related tastes)

Dental Insurance Spice Latte (paper)

Job Spice Latte (stale coffee, lunch at desk)

Toil Spice Latte (sweat)

Political Campaign Spice Latte (beer, fried everything, rubber chicken)

John Boehner Spice Latte (not going there)


Do you see now where this road leads, pumpkin spice lovers? Nowhere good.

Now we can all call a truce and switch back to real pumpkins. Or better yet, try an apple. You don’t even need a scientist to manufacture apple “spice” this time. Apples are delicious on their own!

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