By Jack Edwards
Last Friday marked the 238th anniversary of the founding of our great country. The 200th back in 1976 was a big one. The 250th should be a real barn-burner too. The 238th? It’s a number void of personality. It’s the numerical equivalent of vanilla ice cream. It’s the kind of strange anniversary number that if the founding fathers were still with us, wandering around in their swanky knickers and waving their quill pens, they might have decided to just stay home and watch a rerun of Hawaiian Five-O.
The majority of Americans celebrated the 238th in one way or another. Most used the traditional method of celebrating our freedom from tyranny, more specifically – attempting to burn down their neighborhood. In my town, unpatriotic people (probably demonic Communists who hate kittens) have been complaining about this noisy tradition. And at least one of them must have contributed heavily to the Mayor’s reelection campaign, because all of a sudden the local police started dispensing press releases like napkins at a pizzeria announcing that they were going to spend 75% of their annual budget enforcing a special fireworks crackdown (no pun intended). Mayor Grinch had struck a heavy blow at the very heart of our patriotic yearning to blow stuff up. (I’m not sure of the connection between the Fourth of July and the detonation of explosives. I’ve always assumed it’s an annual reminder to Great Britain that if they give us any more trouble, we will give them, as my mother often threatened, “something to really cry about.”
The new rules include:
- No fireworks that can leave the ground (though they may spin at a leisurely speed, but only in a clockwise direction).
- No fireworks that that can be heard from more than 6 ½ inches from the point of explosion.
- No “fire-related” fireworks.
And the city has set up (this is true), a hotline (although I don’t think they are aware of their pun) so law abiding residents can rat off their neighbors. Yes. In my city, you can celebrate your freedom by anonymously dropping the dime on your friends next door.
It will remain perfectly legal, however, to:
- Drink a twelve pack of Budweiser and wander aimless through a crowd of young children while waving a 500-degree-tipped sparkler.
- Set off a 12 mile string of firecrackers that causes people to use the neighbor-ratting hotline to summon emergency medical personnel.
- Literally, light your pants on fire.
As states go, mine has very strict fireworks laws. Conveniently, our neighboring states’ legislators are a bunch of pyros. But even the more powerful explosives that our neighboring states offer aren’t good enough for the fireworks aficionados in my neighborhood. These champions of freedom have apparently developed ties to rebel forces in Syria. I saw one guy down the street standing next to a barbeque with what appeared to be a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile.
And yes, if you care to ask, I too joined in the celebration. Don’t think for a moment that I lack the appropriate celebratory spirit that made our country the beacon of hope and freedom that shines throughout the world. I celebrated the 238th the old fashion way, the way our forefathers would have celebrated it – watching a rerun of Hawaii Five-O.