Every year, I get a bunch of Fourth of July submissions that are basically fireworks commentary. As it turns out, the minute you become a parent is the minute you become a fireworks commentator. Prior to this transformative experience, you probably just wander around not really thinking much about fireworks, unless you're the type who drives two states over just to purchase a large box of explosive pyrotechnics, OR you're the type who feels sorry for your poor dog because loud booms make her bark her head off. It's not until you become a parent that fireworks suddenly destroy your whole world, because either your baby can't sleep through them or your toddler is scared by them or maybe you yourself want to get a little shut-eye before your child wakes up at the crack of dawn.
Whatever your reason, if you're a parent you likely have a strong opinion one way or another on fireworks. You either love them (a.k.a "tolerate them" because you used to love them, back before you had a baby), or you can't STAND them and the only way to get through the week of the Fourth is to complain incessantly on Facebook.
As we all know, Facebook is the gateway to Complaintville, especially around holidays like the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve when people are encouraged to stay up late and watch things explode -- sometimes over a neighbor's lawn, house, or car. And the truth is, I understand the impulse to complain, just as I understand the impulse to shoot off fireworks until two a.m., but what I don't understand is why people even bother.
Yes, fireworks can be annoying. Yes, they are loud and dangerous and illegal in many states. But none of those things is going to stop America from partying the same way it has for decades, by being loud, drunk, and stupid. Also, some parents like to call the shots (so to speak) and explicitly lay out rules as to when fireworks are okay.
For some, there's a 15-minute window in which shooting off fireworks will not elicit groans or calls to the police, but there's absolutely no way for neighbors to know when that window exists unless they're friends with those parents on Facebook. Hence, the Fourth inspires a clusterfuck of status update activity that lasts until the seventh of July, when everyone finds something new to complain about. It's a vicious cycle.
So this year, even if you want to complain about your neighbors, just don't. It's already been done, and no one cares anyway, so maybe consider eating a late night hot dog and taking in the spectacle without your phone in hand. Trust me, it'll all be over by morning.
Yes, Kira, that is too bad...for you. Unfortunately holiday celebrations are not typically scheduled around a toddler's bedtime. Them's the breaks.
2. Calling The Cops
It's one thing to act hostile on Facebook about your neighbors, or even to chase the kids down the block with a rolling pin screaming about being disrespectful, but calling the cops on the Fourth of July because your baby can't sleep is stupid. If you're really in danger (which can happen), go for it. But if complaining to police requires walking down the street, picking up a used bottle rocket, and then lying about where it landed, you're the asshole. And those "juvenile fuckers" won't forget it come Halloween.
3. Party Poopers
I hear what Kyla and her friends are saying here. It's a bummer that fireworks are sold in bulk and that it takes a whole week to get rid of them. However, calling the cops probably won't help. A nightcap and a good pair of headphones might, though.
4. YELLING ABOUT FIREWORK ANGST
Adam is less than pleased with the way this year's fireworks show went down, and while I can't blame him, I don't believe I've ever been to a fireworks show that started before 9:30 p.m. in the middle of summer. What would be the point of that? (Note: I also asked myself what the point of Adam's status update is, and I haven't come up with a solid answer except that complaining can sometimes feels like a pathetic accomplishment.)
5. Mom's Gold Star
Finally, a parent who can joke about fireworks on the Fourth. Parents like Dayel are few and far between these days, and therefore I salute her. I hope she and her boys have an explosive and safe holiday -- and the same goes to everyone who's reading this column! Happy Fourth of July, everyone!