I hate the Fourth of July.
Wait, let me explain. I don’t hate Independence, or the idea of celebrating the birth of our nation. I don’t hate flags, or Uncle Sam hats, or family picnics, or parades with or without marching bands. I especially don’t hate the nice frisson of quiet, non-partisan patriotism that passes through our still somewhat small hometown. Heck, I don’t even hate the Tom Cruise film, although I am glad I got to enjoy it before all the Scientology and couch-leaping.
What I do hate is the God. Blasted. Noise.
I hate that every year, not just on the Glorious Fourth, but for about a week before and a week after, I have to suffer every single night through about two hours of bottle rockets and M80’s set off by our Australopithecine, redneck neighbors, who apparently don’t understand this particular holiday is not like Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or Ramadan, but rather is meant to be enjoyed for one single night. That’s the point — you set off the fireworks on the Fourth. Instead, they’re busy even as I write this, scaring off the earthbound spirits of any unfortunate redcoats who haven’t yet found their way to the bright white light.
During this couple of weeks, without fail, I get closer to premeditated homicide than the entire rest of the year combined. (That includes when the stores start decorating for Christmas at Halloween, and whenever Andy Rooney opens his mouth.) Look, if it was just on the Fourth — just the one night, mind you — I’d have no problem with it. Heck, let ’em rip until midnight. But when I have to endure twenty or thirty hours of this crap over weeks, it’s time to break out the heavy weaponry.
Is it too late for the Brits to take us back, Brangelina and all?