Fireworks, Baseball, Apple Pie and Chevrolet
This is the time of year that makes the Darwin Awards a lot more interesting: Senseless hooligans everywhere will celebrate our independence by mistaking idiocy for entertainment. This is especially true in my home state, Michigan, where they've banned anything that explodes or leaves the ground. In other words, they've banned all the good stuff.
So people are left with tiny things that "emit showers of sparks," like a bad garage band's stage show. Or, like most people, they resort to their own creativity. And desperately bored Michiganders can get creative. People improvise. They build cannons (seriously). They go to Indiana or somewhere else and bring back the goods. Michigan fireworks laws are barely enforced, especially this time of year (which, I guess, begs the question of why we have them in the first place).
In Florida, this is not the case. Much of what Michiganders crave is legal here. Or, at least it would appear that way. As I drove home from work last night, I was treated with a little taste of what it must have been like to invade Normandy. All the way, the booms grew louder, the flashes brighter, and the haze of spent firecrackers thicker. I stopped at one of the many parking lot fireworks stands on the way home, hoping to find something explosive I might use to demonstrate my own patriotism. One of the glorious things about the tradition of fireworks on Independence Day is that it unites everyone with a love for danger, regardless of race, creed, religion, etc. No matter how much time you or your family has been in the United States, you can take joy in blowing something up.
As I was browsing the merchandise, a large man approached the lone employee working the cash register and inquired about a certain firecracker. He was holding a brightly-colored tube about the size of a mailbox. It was ridiculously huge, an obscenely large thing most certainly destined to set off car alarms spanning several neighborhoods. He asked, in a thick Cuban accent, "Is this good?" He was flanked by a muscle-bound friend who eagerly awaited the employee's approval, equally thirsty for destruction. "Is this good, my friend?" He repeated himself with urgency, as if to imply that it was of utmost importance that he procure a top-notch firecracker. This, it would seem, was an emergency. The employee stammered a little, and conceded that the ginormous pyrotechnic in question was, in fact, good. "This," Cuban Man said, "is ezzactly what I'm looking for," and he smiled and winked.
I assume he made a big hole in the ground somewhere. As for me, I didn't get anything. Though I couldn't make it downtown to see the real show, I got a pretty good one from the backyard.