Last year, I wrote a Fourth of July column advising parents not to overreact to predictably loud and annoying holiday fireworks by complaining profusely on Facebook. No one listened to me. Granted, it could be because parents’ ears were punctured and rendered useless by the cries of their sleeping babies, barks of their dogs, and repeated booms outside their bedroom windows — but let’s be honest here: We are a nation that doesn’t live in a war zone (where I imagine that children’s sleeping patterns aren’t exactly top priority), and beyond that, we are a nation that loves guns, which also make loud booms and also happen to kill people every single day of the year. There’s an irony to people complaining quite vocally, and angrily, about loud fireworks, when we actually have far more restrictions against setting off fireworks in the United States than we do against owning guns. If a person complains about fireworks on Facebook, especially if that person is a parent, his/her status update is usually greeted with righteous comments in solidarity. But if a person complains about the lack of gun safety in the U.S., that update will likely be met with some extreme opposition. I find this both disconcerting and amusing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a proponent for the safe and responsible use of fireworks, and the banning of many such explosives, as anyone, and I know a large contingent of people don’t heed those laws. I know what it’s like to live in ‘Murrica, where the fireworks parties start around June 28th and stop around July 7th, and how aggravating that can be (especially when paired with the rapid firing of shotguns!). But in the grand scheme of things, it’s hard for me to give a shit about this week of headaches for parents, because fireworks are intended to be fun. They may be dangerous to handle, and they may not be fun for everyone, but they’re a source of wonder and excitement (and stupidity) for many, and I, for one, enjoy them. Parents, on the other hand, do not. Every year, frustrated parents go online to vent about their neighbors (almost as though their neighbors can hear them), and what they’re really saying is, “I’m special, and my children are special, and your loud and illegal fun needs to stop now.” Holiday tradition doesn’t matter. The fact that the parent(s) probably shot off a firework or two before having kids doesn’t matter. All that matters is that their neighbors are rowdy, fun-having assfaces who have no respect for the fact that *some people* need to get a little shut-eye around here!!!! It’s one of the most frivolous and self-indulgent things to be angry about, particularly because the partying is so short-lived. Being inconvenienced sucks, yes, but instead of just dealing with the noise in real life, parents cling to their children and their iPhones and make a whole lot of noise on the internet. For every day that fireworks disrupt their lives, their bitching is on display online. It’s a different type of noise, but noise nonetheless, and I can’t help but suggest they stop — even though I know they won’t listen. I suppose from that perspective, parents and their obnoxious neighbors aren’t really so different after all! Let’s check out this year’s new batch of complainers.