It's that time of the year again, when fun-loving, possibly overly patriotic, definitely pyrotechnic-inclined Fourth of July enthusiasts break out their big ol' box of fireworks and celebrate the American way, much to the detriment of parents of young children. Every year, as the holiday approaches, parents gear up for yet another stretch of sleepless nights—iPhones in their hands, Facebook apps open, their thumbs at the ready to pound out angry status updates along the lines of, "I'm about to call the cops on my asshole neighbors who are shooting off fireworks and having fun, loudly, in the proximity of my precious sleeping baby!" It's a tale as old as, well, whenever the tradition of shooting off fireworks began. And it's a complex argument, because everything about both the revelry and the complaining is rooted in utter selfishness.
The people who shoot off the fireworks are, obviously, going to wait until it's dark outside, which happens to be right around the time little kids are hitting their REM sleep cycle, and the more beer those people drink and CCR or Brad Paisley or Pitbull they listen to, the more hype that fireworks show is going to get. And then the parents who complain are, obviously, going to act like they've never lit a firework or a sparkler in their lives as they preach about peace and quiet—i.e. THEIR peace and quiet—and their kids' inability to sleep, all while ignorantly acting like they won't happily introduce fireworks to their kids' lives the minute their children want to enjoy them, too. In fact, and I'm not trying to be rude here, I get very skeptical when kids are of "fireworks-loving age" and they despise the loud booms and twinkling of lights. It makes me think their parents drilled it into their heads that fireworks are dangerous and never to be appreciated, kind of like those parents who tell their kids they can't ride roller coasters because they might die or can't jump off the high dive (if those even exist anymore) because they might get injured. I'm not saying kids should all have a healthy fondness for danger, loud noises, and traveling at high speeds, but I always lift a brow if a little kid says he or she "hates" fireworks. I think, "Is it because the kid is averse to them, or is it because they take after their uptight, whiny parents?"
Either way, my point is whether you're for or against the recreational use of fireworks on/around the Fourth of July, you're approaching the holiday with a subjective perspective. You either want to set off fireworks, be loud, and have fun with no concern for others, or you want to slide into your jammies at 8pm, put your kids to bed, and quietly watch Netflix completely undisturbed on the nation's biggest summer holiday. I never understand why so many parents take the time to get angry about something that truly has no right or wrong answer. Sure, fireworks are illegal in certain cities or states (four states, to be exact), but so are lots of things, like taking an illegal U-turn when it's convenient, or performing sexual acts with a dog. None of us is a paragon of virtue, and the Fourth of July is the perfect time to let your inner pyrotechnic out—within reason, of course. I'm all for parents' argument that fireworks are risky and could blow off someone's hand or set a neighbor's lawn on fire, but wouldn't it be easier to just walk over to their neighbors' party and talk to them if that's a real fear? Or maybe forget about it entirely and put in some earbuds? It's kind of like when babies cry on planes and everyone else just deals with it. If you're the person griping about a baby who just will NOT stop crying on a two-hour flight, maybe the issue has more to do with you, you know?
The vast majority of people celebrating on the Fourth of July are in it for the good times, the celebration of independence to act like an idiot. That's what America is all about. Try not to spoil it for them, because soon enough, the buckets o' firecrackers will be empty and everyone will resume life as slightly-more mild-mannered civilians who don't set stuff on fire for fun. Let's hope. Until then, take a Xanax or something, angry parents. So many of you write hostile, even violent, things on Facebook to get your anger out when you could just be snoozing in a light drug-induced coma or trying to soothe your children back to sleep and remembering that it'll all be over soon. Look at the bright side: Fireworks may come and go, but the freedom to privately bitch about your neighbors lasts forever.
1. Finger-Slashing Fun
Hey, F-ers, if you don't shoot your fingers off lighting fireworks, you can look forward to getting them individually sliced off by Auntie S. She has a super sleepy nephew and she is NOT F-ing around, MF-ers. Do not F with her. She will F-ing pin you down, and one by one slash your F-ing fingers off with the knife she just used to cut up banana pieces for a 23-month-old, extremely tired little boy. Welcome to Independence Day, firework-carousing F-ers!!!!
2. PTSD Triggers: Veterans And Mothers Edition
I've heard this argument a lot, and while I certainly believe it's possible that some veterans are 'triggered' by fireworks, I also believe those veterans have a lot more fucked up shit happening in their brains 99% of the time than the one or two days Americans set off fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. I mean, this is the recreational stuff many veterans grew up doing with their friends and families out of patriotic pride. If anyone in the above screenshot appears to have PTSD (from what, I have no clue), it's Light Blue. She's acting like someone just marched into her house and set off a Roman candle in her child's crib. Someone get this woman the magnum of wine she so desperately needs.
3. Beating People Up Is Patriotic, Too
I'm not sure what's more typically American: Setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July, or naming your child "Saphora" and bantering about beating strangers' asses on the internet on a national holiday. It's times like these that Facebook lets our true spirit shine.
4. Dad Rage Is The Dorkiest Rage There Is
We all know those crazy dads who scream at their kids' sports coaches or threaten to murder any boys that try to ask out their daughters, but on the flip side of that, there are dorky dads, with their dorky jokes and dorky jeans and terrible attempts at keeping up with popular culture. Tom strikes me as a dorky dad, God bless him, but I'm not really sure he knows it. He just grills up well-done burgers and listens to Coldplay and contemplates life, and the funny little twists and turns that happen once you grow up and have kids, man. He's just telling it like it is, reflecting on the past and the present and being a pretty nice guy about it. If I had to put money down, I'd say Tom is probably more likely to prepare a plate of s'mores for his annoying neighbors than cram a firework up someone's ass. His Facebook post, Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey-style, is endearingly woe is dad. Aw, shucks, Tom!
5. Dear People Who Can't Read This Status Update
I've already made my feelings on 'fake letters' known, but for some reason I have an extra-sensitive pet peeve alarm that goes off whenever people write them on the Fourth of July. I guess it's because the "dear so-and-so" being referenced is almost certainly within a few hundred feet of where the parent is typing the message, making the parent not only sound like a whiner, but also like a weak-willed little biatch. Taylor, you don't need to hyphenate "jackass," which literally everyone knows but you, and your faux-squabble with your Asshole neighbor [sic] puts you directly in the "eye roll / get over it" camp. Yeah, it sucks, but what's important is not letting your entire friends network see just how aggravated you can be over something so predictable. Annual, even. Good thing you didn't take it any farther than that initial gripe.
Lol. Oh, Taylor. At least you figured out how to de-hyphenate your insults.
6. Mom's Gold Star: Fourth Of July Traditions
Everything about this screenshot is perfect. The photo, the caption, and the fact that there are still parents who let their kids light Roman candles and encourage them to relish in nearly blowing their limbs off for just one day a year. Isn't that what we should be teaching the youth of America? To stand together at the base of a (likely man-made) body of water and light up the sky without a care in the world? Maybe parents who are posting insane rants on Facebook should think a little more about this picture—i.e., the inevitable future of their Fourth of July celebrations with their kids when they're older—and get back to complaining about something else next week.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! As I said last year, enjoy—or don't enjoy—your weekend!