Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fireworks on 4th – what’s the big deal?

One of my memories of the Bicentennial proper (as in July 4, 1976, when I was on the verge of turning 11) was being at an uncle and aunt’s house in suburban Park Forest when one of my cousins, myself and a couple of other kids managed to get ahold of some firecrackers.

Nothing overly elaborate.

BUT THEY WOULD explode a few seconds after being lit. Which for a 10-year-old was something of a kick, I suppose. Although I’ve never messed with fireworks of any type since, and I can’t say I think I’ve missed out on anything spectacular in life.

So count me among the ranks of the grouchy old men who is going to be wondering what is wrong with all the nincompoops who are going to feel compelled to cause explosions every chance they get all this week – particularly Wednesday night and through much of Thursday.

For the latter date is Independence Day in this country. We celebrate the date some 237 years ago when our nation declared itself to be free of colonialism – even though it took another seven years before Great Britain recognized that fact and another six before we had a constitution with Bill of Rights that made it clear this nation was likely here to stay!

My guess is that all the explosions we hear are supposed to be reminiscent of the cannon fire that once occurred on battlefields. It’s supposed to give a martial effect to the day. Why worry about esoteric concepts such as “freedom” and “democracy” when you can blow something up?

NOW I’M NOT one of those people who is going to be turned into an emotionally-shattered mess come Thursday with all the explosions that will take place across my neighborhood (unless, by chance, someone misfires badly and it becomes my residence that gets destroyed).

It’s going to be more a matter of annoyance. Largely because I don’t get the appeal. Even the 10-year-old in me was satisfied after a few minutes of this type of stuff. Are the bulk of us really that emotionally stunted?

No, I won’t call the police that day. Because I have enough sense to realize they’re going to be overwhelmed with enough calls from knuckleheads who are losing control of their behavior.

They’re going to have better things to do than to chase down juvenile-minded people.

BUT IT’S STILL going to be annoying. In fact, it already has started.

A week ago, my neighborhood had fireworks being blown out after sunset. Of course, part of that could have been the fact that it was the night that the neighborhood lost power due to last week’s sudden storm.

Perhaps some people, with no electricity or anything else to do, felt compelled to try out a few of their potentially incendiary devices. Although I’m sure their cover story was that the Chicago Blackhawks had just won the Stanley Cup, and they wanted to celebrate!

I’m sure some of us can curse out the concept of Indiana – where the sale of these fireworks is legal; unlike Illinois. Although I couldn’t help but notice a report that even in Indiana, the actual use of those fireworks is restricted to a specific time of the year.

THE “13 DAYS of hell,” as described by Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller to The Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper – a period of time in which we’re in right now. And even the Indiana law enforcement officials find the whole issue to be an annoyance.

Personally, I have always found those businesses set up right on the Illinois/Indiana border that sell cheap cigarettes and fireworks to be somewhat tacky. Although because they stay on the “other” side of State Line Road, they are fully-legitimate businesses.

Just not one in which I ever care to spend my money. Happy Independence Day – despite the pseudo “bombs bursting in air.”


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