My Dirty Little 4th of July Secret

I always feel like the odd man out when it comes to the Fourth of July among my friends and family, at least when it comes to one seemingly quintessential part of celebrating this holiday.

I’m all for most of the normal things you do on the Fourth: grilling up and consuming hamburgers and hot dogs, making the kids watch Independence Day (because hey, what other reason do we celebrate this holiday for, if not kicking alien butt?), even the occasional parade doesn’t bother me too much–depending on just how merciless the Houston sun and heat decide to be, of course.  I can absorb all the requisite flag waving and nationalistic jingoism on this day pretty painlessly, because again, it’s all about celebrating the USA.  Right?

But there is one much beloved aspect of this holiday that I pretty much can’t stand.  And if you haven’t guessed it by process of elimination yet, you should be able to figure it out from the picture below.

Image source:

Yep, fireworks.  I am not a fan, never have been, and I don’t see how I ever will be.

Now, let me clarify.  The above image isn’t entirely accurate, and the reason it isn’t is because fireworks like the display posted above are a-okay with me.  They’re pretty, they’re far away, they’re (hopefully) viewed from a safe distance, and they’re part of a show that’s intended for the public.  I’m alright with all of these things, in theory.

Where I get a lot less cozy with the concept of fireworks is with regard to the other kind of fireworks activities Americans tend to get involved with so much: the store bought, bring them home and light them up in your driveway and/or backyard variety.  So many of my friends and family look so forward to this part of the holiday, spending small heaps of money on bundles upon bundles of sparklers, smoke bombs, firecrackers, and who knows how many other kinds of pyrocentric indulgences, that sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m some kind of genetic freak, someone who just doesn’t have the DNA sequences that allow humans to appreciate this sort of thing.  With rare exceptions, most people to whom I’ve confessed this tend to drop their jaws and cock their heads to the side, as if there’s no way that could possibly be the Tony they’ve known for so long.

But it’s true.  I’m no fan of back yard fireworks.  Hell, given the choice, I’d much rather go hide in my room with the frightened animals and play video games rather than take part in fireworks on the lawn or driveway, no matter where I am.

My reasons can be many, or all boiled down to a simple dislike of up close and personal pyrotechnics, but here are the ones that jump immediately to mind:

  • They are loud;
  • They are unpredictable, meaning some of them can propel themselves almost anywhere;
  • They positively wreak of sulfur;
  • The mess is not something I look forward to seeing, or cleaning up, ever;
  • How expensive are these things?

Enjoying fireworks displays from far off is one thing.  Having them in your own yard is a far less pleasant proposition, at least in my mind.  It’s difficult for me not to see them as invaders of my space and property, even when my household isn’t actually lighting them off, because enough of our neighbors do that the effects are virtually identical.

But hey, don’t mind me.  I’ll just be hiding in my room, playing Plants vs. Zombies or one of the LEGO games.

Happy Independence Day!


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