Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sally Fourth!

Here we are on the verge of July 4. It seems like we did this last year.

We didn't do it very well, but that's not the point. This year, the 4th falling on a Tuesday, the "people" have declared it a four-day holiday weekend. Most of these "people" work in the hotel and restaurant business. Also, the prostitution and demolitions industries will make out like bandits, because everyone will be out for a big bang. Oh, goody; FOUR days of people setting off explosives at any given moment, the acrid stench of sulfur in the air (though that could merely be the unwashed masses), and my cats zooming through the house at 87 mph trying to find a place to hide from what they think surely must be gunfire. As fate would have it (and damn fate, anyway; it always seems to get its way), one or both are frequently in my lap at the time, I'm wearing shorts, and they launch themselves off using my subdermal tissue as traction. The fact that I have seven layers of skin on top of that tissue is a thing that they don't take paws, er- pause to think about.

Honestly, every year, it's the same old thing, and I'm just bored to death with the whole business. It isn't that I'm unpatriotic; I'll be one of the few on our street (and why that is, I'm not sure) to hang the flag, and I always spend a little time on the 4th reflecting on the principles and ideals upon which this country was founded. Then I get depressed, since a lot of people seem to have forgotten what they are, and if you don't remember them, you're not likely to aspire to them. Judging from what I read about doings in Washington, DC, I don't think anybody there has heard of those principles and ideals, and obscure documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Naturally, the people at the NSA, CIA, FBI and the FKPH&W just read those words and subsequently marked me down as "unpatriotic and subversive". There's that, the long hair, and the fact that I've been brushing up on some of the classic protest songs. Only one isn't totally relevant to our current times, Ohio, penned by Neil Young. No students have been shot yet, and let's keep it that way.

But, I digress.

Look, we can barbecue any day of the year. I don't want to go to the beach, because everyone else has gone to the beach. The parade is exactly the same every year. So are the local fireworks displays. I am sick to death of fireworks, I'm over them, and I wish the bloody things would just go away.

Tonight, the official County display is planned; this is "the biggie", folks. Of course, if you've ever seen a Disney fireworks display, this is about as exciting as Tinkerbell dropping her wand and having it burn some tourist from Finland on the ass (though I'd pay a buck to see that). We frequently have afternoon or evening thundershowers this time of year, so it's a good idea to have room for a couple of rain days. Happily, the weather looks like they will get it done tonight. I have no intention whatsover of going. Forget it. The heat index is 99 degrees. The wind is negative 5 mph. Impossible? No, not with global warming. The effect is that all the air around you is trying to push the 99 degrees into your body from all sides. This "negative" wind also helps the mosquitos and other biting insects to zero in on you. This is bad enough that people soak themselves all over with that instantly-lethal wasp/hornet spray. This is foul enough to make you throw up those three hot dogs you ate, and have another chance to consider what in the hell those things are made with.

I can live with this banal ritual, since I'll be miles away inside my nice, air-conditioned house, dressing the wounds that my cats have inflicted upon me. By this time, I've remembered myself and have put on some jeans. Good thing, because it's the neighborhood fireworks that aren't going to let up for four damn days. "Sure", you think, "those screaming and screeching sparkler things that they sell in the stores are annoying as hell."

Fat chance.

Exploding fireworks, of course, are illegal to sell or use here. This is true of this county, and every other county to the north, east and south. However.... two counties to the south, they'll sell you nearly any kind that explodes or rockets into the sky, all under the ludicrous loophole that they deliberately keep open, since county officials are getting kickbacks, collecting extra sales tax, and because they just like blowing stuff up. All you have to do is sign this form saying that you're going to use them for "agricultural purposes." What that's supposed to mean is that you're going to set them off to scare off birds that are molesting your crops. Wink wink nudge nudge. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and skyrockets that can take down a condor flying at 2,000 feet are so necessary and effective for that. That's why there aren't any condors left in the United States. 9 foot-long strings of M-80s? Yeah, they'll scare away whole flocks of birds for miles and miles around. But only once, as they'll be rendered totally deaf from that point on.

But, there's nothing for it; it's going to happen whether I like it or not. Next Wednesday, I'll have to go up on my roof and clear up all the debris that's landed there from all of this "agricultural use". I'll pause to thank God that the crops on my roof were thoroughly protected from those rampaging, dangerous swarms of hummingbirds. Then, I'll sweep off the remnants of Roman candle balls (which is also the name of a medical condition that they'll be seeing a lot of in the emergency rooms this weekend), burnt-out skyrockets, and a lot of seagull feathers, as the condors are all gone.

In the meantime, in addition to denim, I think I'd better keep a couple of thick towels on my lap to protect myself from further feline panic attacks. Otherwise, by Wednesday, I'm going to be out of blood.

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