THE SONIC BOOMER
The Fourth of July — remember that?
Thanks to “The Covid,” activities related to America’s Independence Day celebration have been curtailed, postponed and/or canceled. Bummer.
America’s citizenry, however, will not be denied. Refusing to let the holiday go by without fiercely pursuing happiness, they have retaliated quickly, taking things into their own eager, yet inexperienced hands. In New York City, there were 1,700 fireworks complaints during the first half of June, compared to 21 in the same time period last year. By June 23, Boston had reported a 2,000 percent increase in fireworks-related noise complaints. Sales were up more than 200 percent in some locations due to the fact that suppliers had instituted “Buy One, Get Two Free” policies in anticipation of a downturn that never happened.
Despite all this “inflammatory” excitement, Mr. Google will tell us that:
• Approximately 12,000 personal fireworks-related accidents occur each year;
• 36 percent of the injuries will happen to children under age 15;
• 70 percent of those involved will be male; and
• Three of America’s first five presidents actually died on July 4 (although it is not clear if they were playing with fireworks at the time).
Holy artillery shells, Batman! It seems as if anyone with any government stimulus money left over has chosen to give that money to China via the purchase of explosive devices, which will then be placed into the temporarily-intact hands of male children under age 15 — or the president.
I am not a fan of death by fireworks. I am not even a fan of maiming by sparklers.
I think explosives belong in the hands of professionals, and sparklers belong in the hands of oven mitts. I don’t like to see lit sparklers tossed into the air while innocent little eyes peer up into the dark sky to try to see where the red-hot wires are going to fall. I don’t like seeing bare feet running across the grass where hot black wires are hiding. And I certainly don’t like my Independence Day topped off with a frantic call to 911 followed by a hysterical trip to the emergency room.
Call me un-American but, seriously, haven’t our first responders responded enough? Couldn’t we declare our patriotism by giving them a freakin’ break already? And do ourselves a favor in the process?
“Don’t buy your neighbor’s house,” is the way one fire chief explains it. Because if your fireworks set Mr. Smith’s house on fire, Mr. Smith’s insurance company is coming after you. Of course, if your son flushes an M-80 Salute down the guest room toilet, that’s on you also. Wouldn’t it be easier to err on the side of caution? Bake a red, white and blue cake and call it a day? Perhaps enjoy the two fireworks displays that Wellington has to offer!
Besides, even at “Buy One, Get Two Free” prices, fireworks are expensive. Do you really want to watch your paycheck go up in smoke?
But that’s it for now. I’m climbing down off my soapbox and admitting I’m an old fuddy-duddy — an old fuddy-duddy with all her fingers and toes.