Whew. We made it through July 4th with all our fingers intact. We're halfway there (for this month anyway). We still have the 24th -- and beyond.
Fireworks are "works of fire." They have real live flame that can actually burn things. Like fingers and garbage cans and houses. So it makes sense that during this year's record heat and accompanying dryness, state and city officials raised the bar a little on neighborhood fireworks restrictions. Not too much, mind you. Folks don't like to be told they've been deprived of their right to sink hundreds of dollars into stuff they plan to take home and burn up.
Personally, I'm relieved. This year's fireworks ban works for me. I belong to a clan that believes fireworks are a good idea. I do not. This is because I'm the one who, out of necessity, created the "Burn Bucket" several years ago. The Bucket is called out annually, usually on holidays, to be used in the application of goo and bandages, accompanied by scoldings that have absolutely no impact except to keep me from smacking the daylights out of the person I'm bandaging.
Personally, I've never understood fireworks. They're fun to look at, make a big noise -- and then they're gone. Except for the sulfuric smoke. And the ashes. And the ringing in your ears that might be gone by next morning, might not. And the trail of burned debris littering neighborhood streets. And the collection of bottle rocket sticks scattered in everyone's back yard. Is that great or what?
Fireworks are symbolic of the battle scenes that won America its freedom at the hands of dedicated rebels who gave their all. But ask someone today why they shoot off fireworks and they'll tell you they do it because they can. And if they detect even a whiff of opposition, they'll tell you straight up that it's an American right -- make that patriotic duty -- to shoot off fireworks on American holidays.
So don't you try to wrestle that right from me. This is America, buster, and here in the land of liberty, we're pretty much free to do just about anything we want that helps keep natural selection in charge of who does and does not procreate. Pass me that Roman Candle and get out of my way, 'cause there's no better way to celebrate America's prosperity than this.
They have a point. The liberties we enjoy in America are worth celebrating. Every day. We live in a prosperous land where, apparently, we have money to burn.
So why not get symbolic about that? Just take the money we'd spend buying fireworks to the bank and trade it for $1 bills. Go home and design some kind of elaborate display with the bills. Get creative. Pin them to wooden structures, fold them into origami dioramas, build up some kind of house-of-cards structure. The point is, show our American competitiveness -- usually demonstrated in whose fireworks are the loudest, brightest, highest, or most -- in competitively large, elaborate, or creative displays.
Then do the same thing we do with fireworks. Invite the neighbors over, have them bring lawn chairs and coolers, wait until dark, and light the displays. They'll lack the noise and ashes raining down. But seriously, if we could trade watching someone send flaming showers into the neighboring trees (been there, done that) for the chance to watch him burn dollar bills for an hour or two, would we go? You bet we would.
You put on that kind of display and the neighbors will talk about it. Maybe behind your back, but they'll talk about it.
And you get to keep all your fingers.
You gotta love this country.
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.