With the exception of our friends in the Tequila State, Americans celebrate harder and better than just about anyone. Beer. Bar-B-Que. Bathing suits. Boats. And booms — lots of BOOMS!
That’s why Independence Day is the worst holiday to have to work — even worse that made-up retail holiday Black Friday.
Take it from me. I’d rather haul glass through a thousand malls crowded with holiday sale-seekers searching for the last Cabbage Patch Howard Stern Action Figure with feng shui grip than approach a hoard of patriotic peeps hopped up on Bud, RedBull, and Proud to Be an American.
It’s not that I hate our country, or I’m anti-social. I just prefer the air-conditioned comfort of the food court to the searing heat of the surface of the sun.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, on Independence day, nothing is going to happen during the day. Newsmakers are out of pocket. While that’s a good thing for the republic, it makes for a day of chasing scanner traffic, wingnut phone calls, and the blue jay terrorizing pedestrians who walk by its nest.
Second, anything that does happen, happens outside. Whether it’s the boaters on the lake story, the epic back yard bar-b-que, or the fireworks preview, that means butt-crack sweat by 9a.m. and full-on swampass by 9:03.
But far worse than scanner traffic and swampass combined, is the trek to the levee or lakefront for the annual firework display. It’s where the great unwashed go to let their mullets down. A nausea-inducing hodge-podge of red, white, and blue citizenry with ice chests, funyuns, and super-sized asses stuffed in flag themed short-shorts. Potbellies in wife-beaters. Ragged cut-offs. Sweat-stained bandanas. Leather chaps. Leather heads. Potheads. Dogs in bows. Kids with kites. Smelly vendors hawking high-dollar cotton candy.
It’s tiger tailgating on crack. Concerts. Dancing. Eating contests. Dreamcicles. Good Humor bars. Alligator on a stick. Fajitas. Pizza. Hot dogs. Sweet tea. Beer. Kool-Aid. Fast-food. Junkfood. Soul food. Rock-n-roll. R&B. Funk. Punk. Rap. Crap. Sleaze. Cheese. Grease. And peace.
And in the middle of it all, a reporter and a photog cramming all that Americana through a tube.
Fireworks on the levee embodies all that is America. It’s individualism, excess, and attitude. It’s people from every neighborhood, every race, every nationality gathering to honor what holds us together — the belief that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty, and to sequester yourself in the bosom of your easy chair and watch drivel on television rather than create it.
No matter what you think of the state of this union, on a day like today, that’s what I call happiness.
Now, pass the potato salad and the remote. I hear there’s a Andy Griffith Meets Jersey Shore marathon on AMC.
What could be more American than that?