We Need a New Fourth of July Tradition

The other night I was watching a neighborhood display of pre-fourth-of-July fireworks that were too loud and too close. I never was one much for the pretty “flowers in the sky” this time of year but I’ll be honest, when I was young I used to love this time of year to blow shit up. I’ve destroyed more model cars and spaceships than you could shake a roman candle at. We even blew up the starship Enterprise one year. We called it Star Trek III: The Home Game.

A couple of M-80s
A couple of M-80s

My most dangerous Fourth of July escapade happened many, many years ago with some large fire crackers, which are now illegal to have without a license, called an M-80. They were an inch long and about a half inch around. You could not buy them, at least in the state I lived, but you could get the kit to make them through the mail. Casings, fuses and powder came specially packed. My friend’s parents never paid that much attention to what we were doing so we got enough to build six of them delivered to his house. Looking back I imagine some level of forgery on his part was involved. Can you imaging something like that happening today? A crew of men with ATF emblazoned on the bullet proof vests not to mention Homeland Security would be at the door fast, facing down a couple of ten-year-old kids that were peeing in their pants.

Anyway we got busy putting these kits together, carefully filling the casings with powder, sticking in the fuse and paper ends then gluing the whole thing together, all totally ignorant of the danger. Ah, to be young again. When we were done, we blew up every plastic model car we had that we didn’t like. Holy crap those things were loud too! The only thing my mom got pissed about when she found out was the six inch divots that were left in the lawn.

But as I’ve gotten older I have no use for fireworks. Maybe its just another case of been there, done that. The danger doesn’t even enter into it for me if its someone else doing it. As long as they don’t come running to me when they blow off their foot. Fireworks are not pretty to me, just loud and disturbing. In addition to scaring the crap out of the local pet dogs and cats, think what its doing to the wildlife. Then guess who is the one the next day that cleans up all the litter that’s fallen from the sky? Me, the Curmudgeon, that’s who!

I wish we could find another, more productive way to “Celebrate Our Independence”. That’s what the holiday is really for, isn’t it? The country has recently been building a lot reverence for service men and first responders. How about evolving Independence Day to something like Take a Military Service Man to Lunch Day? Wouldn’t that be more appropriate? Make it the holiday to honor those who protect our independence. And we can all quietly eat our dinner together in peace.