Freedom: Let That S*** Ring.

July 2, 2012

Humor

I have a, let’s say, complicated relationship with the 4th of July – Independence Day.  On one hand, I love what it stands for.  On the other hand?  Worst holiday of the year.  So today and tomorrow, I offer a point/counterpoint with myself on the best, and worst, of our Independence Day.

Today: Why it’s the worst holiday of the year.

“My country ’tis of thee…!”

I think my mixed feeling about Independence day is best embodied by the 4th of July the first year we moved in to our house.

The patriotic residents of a house across the street had decided to dedicate the whole day to celebrating freedom.  It was around 2:00pm, while one of the stalwart residents was showing a young child how to hold a lit bottle-rocket when, somehow, one of their rockets landed in the dry brush of the 90-year-old woman’s house next door, and a fire started! Well, when Mrs. Byronic and I went over to put the fire out, these selfless citizens joined in with a cereal bowl full of water, and then by watching us.

They, perhaps a bit discouraged by starting a fire, decided to refrain from explosives for the rest of the day. It saddened me, I must admit, to see their democratic fervor so easily tempered. But I needn’t have worried. The enemies of freedom would be wise to learn that American pride is not so easily squelched!  It wasn’t an hour or two later before more people had come to join the celebration and more, bigger, fireworks were being set off!  Hurrah!

Sometimes we all need a little roman candle, and a little screamed obscenity to remind us what’s really important.

These brave patriots made sure that everyone around them understood the importance of the day through several acts, primarily through shooting bottle-rockets at passing cars shouting timeless phrases from our historical founders, such as Patrick Henry’s immortal quote, “F*** you!” and the always quotable Ben Franklin’s, “Get a new car, asshole!”.  It was still daylight, so there was no “rockets’ red glare” but the motorists got the point.  Then… I’m sorry, I must pause for moment. The kindness and spirit of the moment was almost too much.

Okay. Then, perhaps concerned that those around them were letting the momentous day slip by without proper reflection, they sent a wake-up call by – it would turn out – setting fire to four people’s homes and property with their bottle-rockets.

Including ours.

After dousing the fire on our deck I went over to show my gratitude. In a display of wonderful role-modeling for their young boy, they showed the same quick-thinking that enabled the revolutionaries to evade the British by saying that, though they were holding fireworks in their hands (and one guy was hitting a roman candle with a hammer for some reason) that they had not been firing fireworks, but rather the neighbors in the seemingly empty house behind them had been.  I said that if they happened to see these “neighbors” could they let them know that they had just set my deck on fire?  At this point, a young woman offered me advice that I’ll never forget:  If my deck was on fire, she said, I should “probably hose that shit down.”

You KNOW it’s their favorite holiday. Getting to see all the people, trying to track down missing pets…

Wise counsel, young lady. Wise counsel.

While I was doing this, several neighbors phoned some of our civil servants – the police and fire departments, specifically – in order to show our gratitude for all they do. These civil servants got together with the brave patriots across the street and discussed several things I missed out on. I had to retreat to my deck and think about the grandeur of it all.

Tomorrow: Why Independence Day is great.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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104 Comments on “Freedom: Let That S*** Ring.”

  1. Kate Says:

    Some of the ‘best’ injuries happen on Australia day…people get drunk and play cricket…then they climb on the roof to fetch the ball and are by this time, usually drunk enough to jump off said roof…confident that they will land on both feet. Which they do! Then they break them :s

    Reply

  2. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Do we have the same neighbors? Our patriotic crack pots don’t even VOTE for god sakes, yet look out on the 4th of July when they drape their house in flags, fill their house with beer and wrap it all up with the DREADED firework display to “celebrate” their freedom. I’m just waiting for them to MOVE so I can celebrate mine!

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Ours moved, thankfully. They were renters, and the owners seem to have a bizarre screening process – most of our neighbors are great, but that house has featured a parade of awful people. New people have just moved in. They’ve been very quiet, and have even done some yard work. I assume they’re arms dealers or something.

      Reply

      • Life With The Top Down Says:

        You are so lucky they moved! I’m waiting for a missile to just make this house go away. They inherited the house…it was FREE.
        No doubt those quiet yard workers are up to something..very suspicious.

        Reply

      • Carol Dunnigan Says:

        I love the comments and am so glad for you that they moved. Your new neighbors are probably drug dealers! One year, the bottle rocket my husband was shooting off in my sister’s cul-de-sac, tipped. It headed straight across the street, through the neighbors 2 vehicles in the driveway, through their garage door, and into the back wall of the garage! A nice $500 later for just 1 panel of their garage – which they love because it’s got windows in it – and let’s say I am against shooting them off ourselves. It was several years before my husband finished that pile of fire works off, and he did from our back yard, with no houses behind us – many vacant lots waiting to be built on.

        Reply

  3. becomingcliche Says:

    Ah, yes. Happy Pyrotechnics in the Hands of Morons day!

    Reply

  4. Valentine Logar Says:

    Wow, are you certain you don’t live in Texas? I thought we had a strangle hold on ignorant Rednecks here. My neighborhood actually has rules against fireworks because of the heat and dry grass, does anyone listen? Ah, that would be no, why would they. My next door neighbor, the secretary of the Neighborhood Committee is actually one of the worst offenders, her family throwing parties to see what fires can be set…gad. One of these days, guns, bottle rockets and flags.

    Reply

    • She's a Maineiac Says:

      Oh no, Val. I do believe Maine is the capitol of ignorant rednecks…

      Reply

      • k8edid Says:

        Well, Florida has a pretty good collection of ignorant rednecks, usually proudly on display. I’ll be in Michigan – and there’s no shortage there, either.

        Reply

        • pegoleg Says:

          Me too, Katy! Which portion of the state will you be occupying?

          Reply

          • k8edid Says:

            Lansing, Clare, Hillsdale/Jackson area. All in 4 days. It will be a whirlwind tour – maybe good practice for a book tour? Should that ever come to pass. My doctor does not want me to travel after my surgery August 1, so this might be my only respite of the summer.

            Reply

    • Shannon Says:

      No, I’m pretty certain Val is right on. Last year — during the driest, longest drought on record, complete with burn bans, fireworks being illegal, serious dryness all around — folks were still shooting off their bottle rockets the wee hours of the morning as if it’s was okay, just this once. We couldn’t sleep for the hours-long truck sirens as all units were out dousing flames. Seriously. I wish our rednecks would MOVE to Maine.

      That was a truly funny account of an otherwise tragic story, Byronic. That’s a bummer it happened.

      Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      America is truly the melting pot of drunken, ignorant pyros, isn’t it?

      Reply

  5. Marie Says:

    This makes me so happy with my decision to live on a boat.

    Reply

  6. Anastasia Says:

    How do you convey what would have the rest of us sputtering obscenities in such a gently humorous way? Brilliant.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Via a lengthy revision process. You should see the first draft. It’s like an angry letter to the editor from someone who lives “off the grid.”

      Thanks for saying so.

      Reply

      • Anastasia Says:

        Really? This is comforting. I just thought you were some sort of self control cyborg, and those people freak me out. 🙂

        you’re welcome

        Reply

  7. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Gee, B-man…these displays of patriotic asshole-ry are making me all verklempt. “Hose that shit down” is the best tip I’ve ever heard.

    Maine just made fireworks legal. So now I am proud to say we don’t have to settle with just throwing flaming hot sparklers in other people’s hair, we can set people’s decks on fire. Yahoo! It’s the american way, dude!

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      At long last Maine can proudly stand in the streets yelling “YYYYEEAAHHH!!! WHOOOOO!!! Lookit that! That’s burnin’ HUGE!!!”

      Reply

    • mj monaghan Says:

      Congrats on legalizing fireworks in Maine, D! Should have some tremendously foolish goings-on this Fourth, now. hehe

      Just keep your fingers and toes out of the way of those stray bottle rockets! 🙂

      Reply

  8. 1pointperspective Says:

    Here in the Garden state of New Jersey (I’m told there were farms here when they named it that), fireworks are illegal. So the tradition is for enterprising folks to travel to exotic locales beyond our borders to buy lots and lots of fireworks then bring them back to sell at a healthy profit.

    People who want to set stuff off, first needed to go talk to “Lefty” or “Jimmy One-Thumb” to buy the goods. Adding degrees of profiteering, smuggling and general lawlessness just really brings out the patriot in New Jerseyites.

    Reply

  9. Ruchika Says:

    Now a dose from some parts of India. If your house was set on fire due to fireworks on one of the HUNDRED occasions we celebrate here, then….WHY THE HELL DID YOU NOT HAVE INSURANCE, (wait for it) YOU IRRESPONSIBLE BUFFOON, YOU THREAT TO SOCIETY?!

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I think that’s what Gandhi said right after the “One ceases to be a slave” quote. He said that, and some idiot yelled, “YEAH!! WHOOO!! Fallen fetters, Mahatmaaaa!!” and then shot a roman candle at his house.

      Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’m just realizing that my response to you makes no sense. I’m going out of town today, and I’ve already written tomorrow’s post, and my response to you is based on a Gandhi quote I use then.

      Now my comment makes no sense, and you think I’m quoting Gandhi at you simply because you’re Indian. So, today you can think I’m an idiot, but tomorrow my comment will be HILARIOUS.

      Reply

  10. inmyinternest Says:

    Well, at least they gave helpful advise when needed… wonderful people!

    Reply

  11. musingsoftheamusingmuse Says:

    Oh my god…. do you live down the road from me?! I think we’ve called the po-po on those same neighbors!

    Reply

  12. Michael Says:

    Some of my neighbors were setting fireworks off last Saturday. Yes, it was not the Fourth; indeed, it was not even July. C’est la vie.

    Reply

  13. jcgator1 Says:

    My sentiments exactly. I love it though when all the celebration happens like 3 days before the actual 4th of july….did they not get the “wait 3 more days before you start keeping hard working people up until 4am with your loud ruckus shouting and firework popping” memo?

    Reply

  14. A Broad at Home Says:

    I never knew Ben Franklin and Patrick Henry were such wise sages. I wonder why I haven’t heard their little gems of sagacity before. Truly inspiring.

    Reply

  15. jubilare Says:

    I just know my city and surrounding suburbs are going to go up in flames. The grass and trees are dry as tinder.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Same as here. The dilemma has always been the thinking that if they make fireworks illegal, they’ll just go out of town, where there’s more dry-drush, and it’s harder for fire crews to get to.

      Reply

  16. Go Jules Go Says:

    Note to self: buy waterproof mascara before reading tomorrow’s counterpoint post. “…and the always quotable Ben Franklin’s, ‘Get a new car, asshole!”’.” I totally lost it at that point.

    So, they won’t let you pump your own gas, but fireworks are okay? (Illegal in Jersey. Can you imagine The Situation with bottle rockets?)

    Reply

  17. tomwisk Says:

    No comment except, I know they’re out there and sure as shit somebody’s gonna either blow off a finger or two or set the driveway on fire trying to light the hibachi.

    Reply

  18. Love & Lunchmeat Says:

    My neighbors have already started. One day of patriotism is not nearly enough for them. Luckily, my dog has finally stopped peeing every time he hears fireworks. Thankfully. (This is a very new development.)

    Reply

  19. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Today is a holiday for Canadians. It is “Canada Day” which we liken to your 4th of July. There are fireworks and very strict laws governing the use of them. However, I know that the news will carry all kinds of stuff about fires started, kids loosing fingers and drunken mishaps. When it is a “double” Holiday (they fall to the same weekend-yours & ours) that lineup of cars you showed is pretty much what the bridges look like for 4 days in my home town of Niagara Falls. You can’t get anywhere so you stock up with supplies and stay put.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      For some reason the national holidays that throw the name of the country in front of “day” always crack me up. Australia Day. Canada Day. It’s like they didn’t even try. Us Day. Holiday Day.

      Reply

      • Michelle Gillies Says:

        Is this as opposed to just using a date? Like the 4th of July? Numbers probably are easier to keep track of.

        Reply

        • The Byronic Man Says:

          I don’t know – I guess there’s no graceful way. “Independence Day” works.

          Reply

          • Michelle Gillies Says:

            Now, you see, had someone told me those were one in the same there would have been no confusion on my part. I would just go with “Independence Day” and drop that whole 4th of July stuff. 😉

            Reply

            • The Byronic Man Says:

              We’re not a smart country. We’d forget. We should probably rename Christmas “The 25th of December Day.”

              Reply

              • Michelle Gillies Says:

                I was going to mention that earlier along with New Year’s Day being the “1st of January Day” but didn’t want to overstep.

                Reply

                • artzent Says:

                  Well, I just stay hold up on my twelve acres and take care of my chickens. Thank God I don’t have neighbors like yours!

  20. freddyflow Says:

    Hmm, methinks you’d better move to a different neighborhood…

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I really like being able to buy my meth without having to get in the car.

      Actually, I think our property rates doubled after they left (in the middle of the night).

      Reply

      • freddyflow Says:

        maybe I should invite them to buy on my street–we could use some property tax relief… and perhaps they can get some ARRA small business funding to grow their “lab.”

        Reply

  21. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    I will be disappointed if the first words of tomorrows Counterpoint are not “Jane you ignorant slut” ……

    Reply

  22. Audrey Says:

    In the immortal words of Nate Hale Jr. “I only regret that they have but two hands to lose for celebrating their country.”
    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of profound absudity!

    Reply

  23. spilledinkguy Says:

    Just remember the P.A.S.S. technique…
    (P)ull the pin
    (A)im at the base of the fire
    (S)queeze the handle
    (S)hoot more s**t off

    Reply

  24. Wilma Says:

    It’s not a party until you combine alcohol and explosives. Thanks for the reminder to hose my shit down.

    Reply

  25. mistyslaws Says:

    Now, i would think that those were MY neighbors you were referring to, except that you failed to mention that these here hooligans, er patriots, actually set off fireworks all throughout the year, usually late into the night when the kids are trying to sleep. They are usually celebrating some type of holiday . . . be it Arbor Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, or Let’s Get Drunk and Light Some Shit on Fire, Woo-Hoo Day. There seems to be an abundance of holidays that are meant for blazing the sky with awesomeness. And loudness. It is unfortunate that your dear helpful fun-loving celebratory neighbors only seem to display these types of festivities on Independance Day. I am so sorry for you, sir. If only I could share my neighbors. Really.

    Reply

  26. Lorna's Voice Says:

    I’m with you on not being a fan of Independence Day. All the Rocket’s Red Glare is a recipe for disaster as far as my boom-hating dog and I are concerned. Explosives and drunk teens–what could possibly go wrong?

    Reply

  27. on thehomefrontandbeyond Says:

    I know these neighbours did awful things – but omg you are funny–I am writing this from the floor as I fell of my chair lingol (Laughing out loud if you are wondering at my shortform)–seriously i am glad i found this blog

    Reply

  28. cassiebehle Says:

    I have a question: How are we supposed to celebrate our wonderful country as we appropriately should (with plenty of beer and bad decisions) when we have to go to work the next day? Because it falls on a WEDNESDAY this year, for cryin’ out loud. I don’t know why our forefathers didn’t have enough sense to just make it fall on the first Friday of July. It’s CLOSE ENOUGH! 🙂

    Reply

  29. every record tells a story Says:

    Here in the UK, Independence Day is not such a big thing…
    Can’t imagine why…

    Reply

  30. Eagle-Eyed Editor Says:

    Water cannon, anyone?

    Reply

  31. Sandy Sue Says:

    *Sniff* Your patriotic commradery is so inspiring.

    Reply

  32. the home tome Says:

    What a party-pooper: you clearly have never written your name in the sky (or your on precious deck) with a sparkler.

    Reply

  33. africanstardust Says:

    Luckily South Africa has so many public holidays that have been changed so many times that none of them are really a big deal, except maybe Easter (yes, that’s a public holiday here), but that mostly involves chocolate eggs and limited amounts of alcohol, so it’s all good.

    Reply

  34. Ape No. 1 Says:

    On the plus side I can think of a number of other more unsavory scenarios where the phrase, “hose that shit down”, could be relevant. “My rear deck is on fire”, may also be applicable in these other scenarios.

    Reply

  35. earthriderjudyberman Says:

    Our neighborhood celebrants, antsy to display their patriotic fervor, often begin their fireworks displays a day or two early and quit a few days later. I also live in a tinderbox-area. But that doesn’t seem to dissuade them.
    Don’t forget the impact on the pets. Noise hurts their ears, etc.
    Have a Happy Fourth. Enjoyed your post.

    Reply

  36. janna hill Says:

    Point well made and love the title, Freedom: Let That S*** Ring.

    Reply

  37. Angie Z. Says:

    I hate 4th of July. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

    If I could remember something from my youth that really drew me to the tradition of blowing things up, perhaps I’d wallow in the nostalgia of blowing things up. Mostly I remember just blowing up ant hills and then feeling really bad about it later. Also, long after the firework stands shut down, my brother was still boobie-trapping my dresser drawers, closet, bedspread, etc., with Snaps — clear through November.

    Geesh, did you live next door to the Clampetts?

    Reply

  38. travellingmo Says:

    I totally agree. People use holidays as excuses to get shitfaced and act like total morons the whole day. Sigh. I’m also not into barbeques now that I’m vegetarian. I didn’t realize until this year how lucky I am that I’m usually working my retail slave job on this day.

    Reply

  39. racheldeangelis Says:

    It’s not the Fourth of July until someone sets something on fire! 😉

    Reply

  40. fiztrainer Says:

    I feel a song coming on after reading this … “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free (to set fire to my new neighbors deck) …
    And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me” … and all the rest!!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Independence As Choice | The Byronic Man - July 3, 2012

    […] been offering a point/counterpoint with myself on my complicated feelings about Independence Day.  Yesterday: a story of what I can’t stand about it.  Today?  A little less lengthy, a little less funny, a lot less […]

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