Today we celebrate a victory. A victory of a young, snobbish, dot-com-like upstart of 13 colonies over bad teeth, thick accents, and men in wigs. It took some fighting and some blood (and some tea), but we did it. Other countries celebrate this holiday, too. Spain calls it “Quatro de Julio” and England calls it “A Lesson Learned”.
Want a little history? It starts with Adam and Eve. Okay, good, now jump forward to 1776. It’s June 11th and those of the colonies who hate King George III the most (those who call him King George the Nerd) have formed a club they call the Second Continental Congress. Ben Franklin promptly hung a sign outside the chamber doors reading “No Girls or Britts Allowed” in his careful 2nd grade handwriting.
The goal of this congress was really to write a “Dear John” letter to England. Portions that were left out read “We been through some good times together, and I will always cherish that, but we do not want to marry you. We still want to date around and see other people.” 86 revisions later (including some that involved adding “Plus you’re gay” at the end), Thomas Jefferson had something everyone agreed got the message across in most loophole free manner.
Copies were made and handed out. The Pennsylvania Evening Post printed a copy, as King George was an avid reader of the Post’s “Ask (John) Adams” column. The paper was officially called the “Declaration of Independence” (because ‘Ameri-Can and Will’ and ‘Read This If You Like Porn’ sounded corny), and it is said that when King George read it after John Adam’s column, he spit his tea all over his paper and swore.
From that day on, July 4th has been about shocking people into swearing. Take fireworks. This chinese invention has long been the source of equal amounts of joy and terror. Kids (well, mostly boys) have been spending 4th after 4th attaching exploding devices to other non-exploding (or larger exploding) devices and standing a short distance away to witness their aberration of chemistry.
I remember my own experiences with this holiday. This one time, Bryce and I were igniting and my father and sister were standing by the house. Bryce and I grew tired placing the bottle rockets in the same old, glass coke bottles. Hey, why not put them right on the ground? And why not accidentally point them at the house? Don’t worry – Molly was fine. It just really freaked her out (being 5 or 6 or 7 at the time). I thought it was funny.
I remember being at my grandmother’s house in Big Stone with my brother and two cousins. The adults had enough fireworks to change the earth’s rotation, and we lay on this hill in between the house (behind us) and the fireworks (smoldering in front of us). When the show started, suddenly all of us were in WWII, trying our best to stay alive amidst the bombing.
We hollered for cover, dove for cover, and used dead bodies for cover. War is hell. We would shout orders at each other. Dan had by far the greatest knowledge of WWII, being quit a fan of the good fight. He became the officer of rank. “Rausch! Get your %$#@ into that bunker and return some of this fire. You want us all $%%#ing killed?!” That got Dan a time out. Maybe he should stick to Lord of the Rings.
This quasi-touching boyhood memory doesn’t stop there, though. With the bombs still flying, the Nazis still attacking, and my parents still lighting up (fireworks), we changed. A strange fever came over us. We each felt it in our blood. “Wait,” one of us would say. “You’re not Dan. You’re… a doppelganger!” and we began attacking each other. This wasn’t quite as American and soon we went inside as bloody, sweaty soldiers of decades ago.
This fourth will be a little different for me. My plans are simple – write this post, reformat my computer, watch some TV. Tomorrow I do more acting for Bob, but this time it is in an apartment and with a girl present. All I can say is, Quinn, I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into. Sunday I do more bathroom scenes with Bob and Matt (Wilson) which should be interesting. All I can say is, Matt, I hope Bob knows what he’s getting himself into.
I may go driving out looking for fireworks. I can just find a random family and pull out my lawn chair and sit with them. It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends and get shot at. Or I could just watch them on TV. You know how much fun that is. It’s like watching that parade before the Special Olympics. It’s got it’s own humour mystique about it, but it can only go so far.
Don’t light bottle rockets while looking pointing them at your face.
Don’t use accelerants to make them “cooler.”
And always remember that no one has the right to touch you in your bathing suit area.