Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth Right

The problem with making a beginning here is that I used up a lot of my schtick about the Fourth of July last year.

Yet, there's no denying that a lot of this is very familiar, old & tired. Three whole flags on my street; fireworks already starting to go off, mainly of the illegal variety.

On general principle, I don't overly object. There's little I can do about it anyway, and besides, I am not going outside and venting my spleen about "those darn kids". For one reason, that's an inescapable sign of getting old, and I'm still working really hard on the denial front. Mainly, however, the reason is that it's adults that are firing them off. Civil disobedience in the name of civic pride, or so they claim. What do they really know about civil disobedience? I'll bet I could hand out a Thoreau quiz and they'd fail utterly.

But, I digress, and fairly early on at that.

In fact, it had been a firm tradition of ours that a family that's friends with ours would get together each year, and my buddy & I would personally do a lot of reprehensible things with stuff that goes boom in the night. My personal specialty was the "chain reaction", in which you use a series of sparklers to set off M-80s and bottle rockets, etc. However, this whole soiree has been ruined by our children, who had the audacity and discourtesy to go and grow up on us. I don't actually see why this prevents the rest of us in engaging in juvenile behavior, but we haven't gotten together for the last few years. Disappointing.

Yet, perhaps unavoidable. I have a rare nerve condition called allodynia, which I'm sure you've never heard of. While any of the five senses can be involved, in my case, I'm hypersensitive to light and sound. What seem like fairly ordinary levels of light or sound to you cause me intense pain. There's currently no treatment for it, and all I can do is wear hearing protectors and dark glasses, or other defensive measures. Therefore, messing with things that burn very brightly and make lots of boom-boom don't seem as attractive to me these days. The one good thing about that is that I can blame the condition, and nobody can accuse me of dropping out because I'm too old to have fun. Then again, having some weird condition means that you miss out on the same amount of fun, so in the end, it isn't really better. On a day-to-day basis, I can't tell you what a nuisance it is.

I digress again.

Well, at least there was some celebration this year, of sorts. My church did a musical presentation, all patriotic and such, which saluted the concept of freedom and thanked members of the armed forces, past & present. I and my fledgling drama group provided the narration. It went pretty well, too. I was surprised at the number of people who came to see it when we did it on the Fourth. Well, it's on a Wednesday this year, and nothing else made much sense. The choir, orchestra & soloists were faboo, as well as the narrating corps (I did some of it, too), and the multimedia element was pretty good stuff, too. Yeah, it's all hip now to have projections of video, photos & animation while you're over there working hard to keep their attention on you and what you're doing. After I caught a glimpse of the Vietnam memorial on it, I quit looking. I know more of the names on that thing than I like to think about.

This whole post is random digression. I'm afraid you'll just have to bear with me; I might find a point to all this somewhere.

So, I make my way home and it's only a matter of time before I have to put my hearing protectors on while inside my house. Yep, the ears are that sensitive. So I've decided to start in on a book on CD that a friend gave me at the reunion (sure, I'll eventually get around to writing about that), since I can wear the ear buds under the head set. Studious and serious shall I be on the evening of the Fourth, and glad that I'm not out amongst the drunk drivers (that isn't age talking, it's just common sense).

As for what other people will be thinking, I couldn't say. My spouse is busily making ice cream at the moment (before you say anything, it is better than your mother's) for my daughter's get-together of Young Persons who are far better behaved at that age range than I ever was. There'll be no drugs, no drinking and no other illicit behavior, save some of the aforementioned not-legal-in-this-state-like-they-enforce-it-anyway fireworks, which will be supervised by a responsible adult, which is ludicrous since my daughter is 23.

The thing that fascinates us is that while we did our best to raise her to be a good person, she's a far better person than we can account for. We don't object, of course, we just wonder how in the zarking fardwarks that happened? Well, she does have an excellent group of friends, and is exceptionally kind, and we're not daft enough to interfere with it.

We don't need the Fourth of July to celebrate that; we do that every day. Looking at this large group of young people who are such good young persons gives one some hope that in some future, they'll have made this country into something more worth celebrating on the Fourth of July. We're making an awful lot of mistakes these days and I don't feel that we're headed in the right direction. However, it's good to have the privilege to observe a group of people who may be far wiser than our generation and cling more to the original ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Hope is a good thing to have.

That's how it all started, isn't it? The Declaration.... the Constitution.... they point to an enduring hope for something better than what we have now. We'll never get to Utopia, but the journey itself is honorable and worthwhile.

It's dark outside, and time to take the flag in. I got it years ago in the name of my daughter; it's certified to have flown over the Capitol Building in Washington. When she flies the coop, it's hers to take with her.

I take some pride in knowing that whatever she does, and wherever she goes, she'll do right by it and make a contribution towards a better world. She can't help herself. Of all the things that we've ever done to make this a better country and a better world, I think that she's by far the greatest.

Long may she wave.

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