On fireworks

FireworksAt some point in my life, I grew bored of fireworks.

Up until then, the Fourth of July was a truly, (pardon the pun) explosive occasion. I could give a damn about the picnics, about the visiting family, about the food and the camaraderie and the patriotism and the day off. I wanted to see fireworks – glorious, loud, obnoxiously brilliant fireworks. I wanted everyone to know we were shooting them off. I wanted to smell the sulfur and watch fiery balls explode from cardboard tubes, unsheathed by the powers of a simple lit punk.

Then, suddenly almost, I didn’t care. Much like any youth-driven activity, the thrill of fireworks waned as I grew older. I didn’t believe in Santa. I didn’t search the house for Easter eggs. And I didn’t long for sparklers and snakes.

Now, with the exception of illegally smuggling bottle rockets into Minnesota and firing them off at the bar across the street from my friend Doug’s house, I’m completely done with fireworks. If none show up on the Fourth of July, so be it. I enjoy those things I shunned before – the family, the food, the good times and relaxing days off. Not to say I don’t enjoy a nice fireworks show. I do. But I’m not going to rush around lighting wicks and ducking for cover.

I thought of this today while mowing the lawn. I know that soon, in five or six years, I’ll be back into fireworks again. I’ll have a child that will long for the same things I did – snakes, fun snaps, roman candles, etc. And because of that child’s longing, I will find myself inside another loaded circus tent, sweating and searching through piles of Chinese novelty items, grabbing large boxes of fireworks and tromping through the dusty aisles to pay exorbitant amounts for things that cost just pennies to make.

I’ll do it all happily, too. Because I’ll be brought back 28 years, to when I was that age, impatiently waiting to light my sparklers and celebrate the Fourth of July the only way I knew how – with fire on a stick.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 4th, 2007