I hate the Fourth of July.
No, this isn’t some anti-America sentiment. This is strictly an anti-fireworks sentiment.
As such, it’s 11 p.m. on Thursday as I pen this column, because I figured I might as well get out of bed and do something productive because my wonderful neighbors think simulating World War III is jolly good fun.
As a kid, I really used to enjoy the Fourth of July. Our cul-de-sac would have a block party and everyone would go out to the street and shoot off our fireworks. Most of the people on our block just bought small stuff — firecrackers, sparklers, some of those spinning flower ones, smoke bombs and a few small fountains.
My neighbor Chris and I used to make little shows with our cheapo fireworks. We’d hook up a couple of those spinny blossom ones, a few smoke bombs, maybe a fountain and then light them off at the same time so it’s create a nice little display in the street.
One year, our neighbor Dan bought one of those giant rolls of firecrackers. When he lit it off, I ran through the yard with one of my toy guns and dove behind some landscaping, pretending like I was taking cover in a trench in the middle of a World War II firefight as a Nazi pillbox sprayed machine gun fire nearby. (I was really into military stuff when I was a kid.)
No one ever bought much aerial stuff. Occasionally we’d get like one of those small whistler boxes, but nothing bigger. There’s a story behind that. One year when I was still pretty young, had to have been younger than 10, my neighbor Bill (one year older than me) and I bought a small rocket. When we went to light it, the wind tipped the rocket off its plastic feet and it ended up shooting at us as we ran away.
The rocket missed wide by a few feet and either twisted up into the sky or ended up hitting a house and bouncing off, I can’t really remember. Anyhow, after that, Bill and I never bought anything that went aerial that didn’t have a firm base.
We did have one neighbor who would buy some of the bigger mortars and blast those off, but usually our block’s fireworks were small. And, the key aspect was, everyone on the cul-de-sac was outside enjoying it and went were wrapped up at a reasonable time.
Now, as an adult, I absolutely despise fireworks.
Fourth of July has gone from fun summer holiday that I’d look forward to down to probably my least favorite of any nationally recognized holiday.
Again, it’s nothing to do with America. It’s everything to do with the obnoxious people who thinking shooting off fireworks nonstop is fun.
Guess what? It’s not. You’re annoying.
I could tolerate it if it was actually confined to the Fourth of July for an hour or two after dark. But it never is. These amateur pyros are shooting off fireworks for a week or more leading up to the Fourth, and then they’re shooting off fireworks well past midnight.
Maybe you don’t have to go to work on July 5, but guess what, the rest of us do. And it’s hard to get sleep when you’re turning the neighborhood into Fort McHenry in 1812.
Thankfully, my baby Luke could sleep though getting hit with a frying pan — if he did happen to wake up and start crying though I’d put him in the car and drive him over and hold him up in front of the local cannoneers and let him cry in their faces until they pack it in for the night — but my dog Chase has been hunkered down in his fort behind the recliner all night hiding.
But also, let’s not lump all fireworks together in the same group. Yes, they’re all annoying, but there’s a difference between people being generally patriotic and people who are just obnoxious.
Firecrackers, bottle rockets, fountains? Yeah, they make some noise but they’re tolerable through the walls of your house.
People with big mortars, those screecher rockets and missile batteries that launch like 60 rockets into the air nonstop? Yeah, you make me constantly consider stepping out onto my back porch and yelling into the darkness, “Hey, can you knock it off already?”
But the worst of all are the people who get the rockets or mortars or whatever they are that explode so loud they literally shake the walls of your house. I mean, seriously, what is the point of that firework except to keep everyone within a 1-mile radius of your house awake? I can’t even write what I actually think in this column, because it’s not polite.
The Fourth of July is about celebrating freedom.
I just with I could enjoy the freedom of a good night’s sleep.
Steve Garbacz is editor of The News Sun. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.