At the risk of being called a mom-and-apple-pie hating socialist traitor, I’m gonna suggest we shelve fireworks as an Independence Day celebration ingredient. Like clandestine sex with your best friend’s spouse, fireworks provide a quick alluring “Boom!” of fun before the big-time regrets set in. Even the seasoned professionals can make mistakes, as last night’s small Trinity River grassfires at the Panther City Pavilion shindig proved. Luckily that incident was nothing like what happened at the Simi Valley fireworks Fourth display in California, where 34 spectators were injured after the rockets started going off horizontally.
Thanks to a childhood of fireworks safety drills, I associate the little crackers with missing digits and third-degree burns rather than an 18th century American victory over British oppressors. And then there’s that whole weird situation where you can legally buy fireworks but can only set them off in very limited locations and circumstances. It’s like saying, “Here’s a big slice of chocolate mousse cake, but you can’t taste it until you drive many miles outside the city limits, ‘kay? You’re on the honor system, so have fun!” Human nature doesn’t work that way.
I vote we nix dangerous fireworks and instead agree on some national ceremony that symbolically reenacts our independence. Maybe a well-paid volunteer dressed as a white-wigged Redcoat can stand onstage while spectators pelt him with boiled kidneys and crumpets (whatever those are). It’s a rough idea, but I’m still in the brainstorming phase. Still, I can guarantee you no one will lose a finger in that spectacle.