Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Does the Fourth of July Mean to Me?

Back when I was ten, the 4th of July was all about fireworks, hot dogs, baseball games, and trips to the ol’ swimming hole (aka, the wealthy friend’s pool). Also, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, and all that jazz.

Now that I’m older – much, much older – the Independence Day celebration is, first and foremost, a day off from work. To me, that’s worth it right there.

But there’s still no way to escape the obligatory trip to an unobstructed fireworks vantage point – even if that means ignoring the “NO TRESPASSING” sign on your friend’s office building’s roof. Isn’t that the meaning of independence, after all? Ignoring posted signs, and just doing whatever the hell you want?

This year, my friends and I went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges - in the mist and rain - for a view of the fireworks.

The rain, the crowds, and the massive, solid masonry Brooklyn Bridge support tower led to a less than ideal fireworks watching experience.

Goddamn bridge....

...right in the goddamn way.

So, for the first time in recent memory, I left before the show was over. I ran a quick cost-benefit analysis before leaving: Rain, crowd, inferior viewing angle on one hand. Beer, dry apartment, baseball game on the other.

"Fireworks are bullshit," I may have said aloud.

The ladies in our group decided to stay behind and watch the rest of the show. From this evidence, I believe female humans like fireworks more than males. And that’s because fireworks look like giant sparkly flowers in the sky, and girls like flowers. But also, they explode, and all humans like explosions.

Research is ongoing.

If the pyrotechnics engineers could just come up with some new fireworks, then I might be more interested. We’ve seen the same old variety for the last 5-10 years.

Familiar fireworks - like millions of sparkling bits of fiberglass insulation, but probably more toxic to local fish and wildlife.

Show me a shell that detonates into a detailed profile of Abe Lincoln – complete with beard and stovepipe hat.

Give me a grenade that erupts into an image of the rock band KISS – in full make-up.

We put a man on the moon, for God’s sake. Why can’t we come up with fireworks that look like Ben Franklin flying a kite?

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what, if anything, they come up with for next year.

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Anonymous said...

Great idea. The fireworks seemed really lackluster to me too, and I saw them at Penns Landing.

Even a lightening bolt display would be more exciting.

The Mill said...

Thunder storms are much more exciting. Especially on a golf course while holding a nine iron in the air.