Freedom: Let That S*** Ring

July 3, 2013

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 my annual 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, “Fuck 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 shooting 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 firemen’s 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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50 Comments on “Freedom: Let That S*** Ring”

  1. Tez Says:

    Oh, my word! Nothing like a few fires to bring the community together. Hope you have a less ‘hot’ holiday tomorrow (and your neighbours go away for the day).

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      If anything, my neighbors seem to be recruiting the others, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” style. I feel like running out, yelling, “What happened to our neighborhood! They’re coming for you next! Can’t you see??!”

      Reply

  2. Laura Says:

    Last night I dreamed that someone blew up my house (it wasn’t scary at all, just really annoying). It wasn’t until just now that I realized it was probably a reaction to hearing all the (illegal) fireworks people have been setting off nearby.

    Reply

  3. EmSpeaks Says:

    I’m pretty sure “You should probably hose that shit down” was originally said by George Washington at Valley Forge.

    Reply

  4. Life With The Top Down Says:

    I really think there should be a “special” community so all these people can be contained to one area..honestly, I am dreading the yearly Budweiser bash in my hood.

    Reply

  5. Go Jules Go Says:

    I love this story, and would give anything to have been a fly on the wall for that confrontation with your neighbors. Your house is just a magnet for fire, isn’t it?

    Reply

  6. thesinglecell Says:

    My brother-in-law once set an old lady’s balcony aflame with a firework. True story. It was awkward. Because he’s not a dill-hole like your neighbors. That reminds me: I should re-tell that story tomorrow at the family 4th of July festivus. Anyway, when I first started reading this post I had made up my mind that you just hate all holidays because you’re a wet blanket (St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, etc. etc.) but then turned out you had justifiable cause. (Because genocide doesn’t count.)

    Reply

  7. mistyslaws Says:

    Oh man, I didn’t know you lived next door to the Clampetts! I HAVE to assume you have a Super Walmart right down the street, no?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Actually, no – there isn’t even a super Walmart in town. It’s someone who just truly didn’t care who they rented to. Some nice people have finally moved in. The day they mowed the lawn and started watering I thought I was going to cry.

      Reply

  8. rossmurray1 Says:

    “Ha ha! Look at those crazy Arabs shooting their machine guns and rifles in the air in celebration! Crazy Arabs…!” – America

    Reply

  9. Word Rummager Says:

    When you saw their monster trucks in the driveway and the copious queer lawn ornamentation, you didn’t view those as clues?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Actually, the monster truck renters – in the same house – came later. One of them loved getting up in the middle of the night and gunning it up & down the street. We finally called the police and they knew exactly who we meant, but said unless they could “catch them in the act” there was nothing to be done. I’m not sure I buy that, though.

      Reply

  10. Snoring Dog Studio Says:

    Clearly, I do not know how to party on the 4th. Thank you for the instructive post. I missed the part where fingers and noses were blown off. Did you think I couldn’t take that much excitement?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Last night I saw some people running around with fireworks in their hands – while they were going off – throwing them at each other. I assume they’re all dead now.

      Reply

  11. rachelocal Says:

    My neighbors have been setting off fireworks for at least a week now. My cats don’t like it; I don’t like it; I’m sure the surrounding townhouses clustered together in tight quarters don’t like it. You’ve inspired me to hunt the culprits down and have stern words with them.

    Reply

  12. pegoleg Says:

    B-Man, your neighbors are just trying to recreate a glorious moment in this great country’s history. The proper response to Patriotic Deck Fire would be to douse it with English Breakfast Blend, then run around the neighborhood shouting, “the firemen are coming, the firemen are coming!”

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’ve always thought it’s weird that people celebrate the end of war by setting off explosives. Wouldn’t you think people who’ve just gone through a war might enjoy an evening of NO explosions?

      Reply

  13. speaker7 Says:

    I was unfamiliar with that Patrick Henry quote. I only know that “Give me liberty…aw fuck it, let’s set some shit on fire.”

    Reply

  14. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I believe that Francis Scott Key said it best, “And the rockets’ red glare / the bombs bursting in air.”

    I hope your flag was still there.

    PS — Your neighbors are swell!

    Reply

  15. Michael Says:

    “Probably”? So the young lady wasn’t absolutely certain you should follow her recommended action? I must say, I admire her understanding of the nuance of this issue, and her apparent willingness to consider all sides and perspectives on the “hosing the shit down” dilemma. Because that’s what America is all about.

    Reply

  16. stormy1812 Says:

    aww neighbors… where would we be without them? no wonder i never learned the real quote by patrick henry in high school. teachers didn’t want us learning that crap. heaven forbid teenagers go around quoting patrick henry all day at school. love the sarcasm and let me just say – you were much more tolerant than i could have been haha.

    Reply

  17. Every Record Tells A Story Says:

    Speaking as a Brit, all I can say is that you have brought it on yourselves.
    If you were still part of the British Empire you’d be watching Wimbledon and eating strawberries on 4th July instead of hosing sh- down…

    Reply

  18. Elyse Says:

    Every patriotic ‘American has set some thin’ on fire in his or her day. Isn’t that why we sing “and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting down here …

    Our neighbors nearly set our house alight a few years ago. Fun times, fun times.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh, and I’ve set my share of rockets a-glaring… but the part that always amazes me is when people who’ve survived to adulthood behave in a way that suggests they genuinely don’t understand that fire can hurt you.

      Reply

  19. Dana Says:

    We celebrate Canada Day in Victoria by:

    1. Wearing red and white clothes (and possibly even funny red/white hats… but not always)
    2. Posing with hundreds of other red-and-white-shirt-wearing people as a giant Canadian flag on the lawn of our government building. (Fun aerial photos! Look– it’s a maple leaf!)
    3. Eating ethnic food. (Nothing says “Canada” like an Indian curry, right? I know *I* celebrated my nation by eating a samosa.)
    4. Sitting on a picnic blanket to watch the city-sanctioned fireworks display at precisely 10:20pm
    5. Riding our bikes or taking public transit home before 11:30 pm

    Granted, there are a few people who like to “drink alcohol” on Canada Day, and this year, our normally G-rated celebrations were marred by a “FOILED TERRORIST PLOT!” (for real), but thankfully, there are no fires set to neighbourhood homes and no fireworks being set off by random, Coors-drinking folks. Phew!

    Reply

  20. Alex H Says:

    This post is incredible.Nice share and keep on with good work.Alex,Thanks.

    Reply

  21. Sandy Sue Says:

    Thomas Jefferson would be so proud of his legacy! If he were alive today, surely he’d be tatooed with patriotic symbols, sitting on an overturned Budweiser case in his jockey shorts, shouting inspiration to passing motorists as he threw aerial shells into the street.

    Reply

  22. BrainRants Says:

    I’m sorry for your bad experience. I love the Fourth better than Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one, so I hope you someday find some additional positive value in today.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, as you can see by the lateness of my response, and the fact that you saw the follow-up, I definitely see the positives. Although this year, having an 8-month old baby, was not my most festive 4th…

      Reply

  23. Teepee12 Says:

    To quote my mother, “Oy vay.”

    Reply

  24. Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface Says:

    After growing up in a town where fireworks were illegal, I do not think I will ever understand the casual attitude of those who set off fireworks in residential neighborhoods.

    Reply

  25. Our Hero Says:

    I prefer to watch fireworks on television. I also have sex via telephone only.

    Disease and burn free for going on four decades!

    http://writeyourownstoryblog.com/

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy Fourth of July Eve! | The Knee Deep Life - July 4, 2013

    […] Freedom: Let That S*** Ring […]

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