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07/06/2002 Entry: "the fourth!"
I've never been a big holiday person. And not for the same slacker generation "I can't like it because everyone else does" reasoning either. More so because with me, holidays were associated with family and being around big groups of them for long periods of time. That in turn was associated with super high stress levels, condecending remarks, hurt feelings, disappointments, etc etc etc, so just like one of Pavlov's drolling dogs, since I was about 5 the holidays have always hit me with nice fistful of uneasiness. My birthday, X-mas, Thanksgiving. I was always much happier when then were over.
The exception to that is The Fourth Of July. Mainly because that is a holiday I associate more with blowing crap up and causing havoc. Two things that make me smile in really big ways. Explosions, the bigger the better, have always been some of my favorite things in the world. This year, the first year I have ever not light one single thing on file, while I was sitting on a friends roof off Whilshire Blvd watching about 10 different fireworlds deisplays in every direction I started to think about about a few more noteable forths and thought I'd fill some space with them here.
- Chicago, IL, 1998. Stephanies roof. Between Jon, Rob, and myself, we'd probably dropped over $900 on fireworks in the past few months on trips from Chicago to Florida and they all got either shot straight up or fired down on the heads of neighbors who were complaining about the loud noises. Things I learned that night: DO NOT offer your lighter to cute little asian girls with fireworks. They will shoot them right in your face. Especially don't do it in front of your fieance who has no fireworks of her own. Very bad. Don't call your friends wife "Wifey". And no matter how bad ass your think your arsenal is, the mexican neighborhood a few blocks down will show you up every single time.
- Gainesville, FL 1993. While every fourth I lived though in Gainesville was something I remember for ever, and each year we leaned more about how much fun black powder and two liter bottles could be, the first year will always be the one that sticks out in my mind. We lived in the Spoke House, a house with 4 apartments, all filled with our chaos loving punk rock friends. The house across the street was the Barcelona house, and was much the same. There were always water fights and contests to prove which was the better residence, and this time it boiled down to all out war. About 15 people on our side, about 10 on theirs, and an assorted 20-30 other friends from surrounding blocks all armed to the teeth, all hell bent on blowing each other up. Homemade smoke bombs had made in impossible to see further than 3 feet in front of you, inside or out. Shit was exploding everywhere you stepped. Our ears rang for days. I still have the scars to proove it. Things I learned that night: How to make smoke bombs from a few household chemicals that make seeing out of the question. How to make 2 liter bombs that throw a shockwave over a block. Said smoke bombs, when lit and thrown into your bedroom really suck. Said 2 ltr bombs when dropped down your friends chimneys totally rule. Landlords will always hate my guts.
Tampa, FL 1989. Fireworks at punk rock shows in the middle of nowhere rule. No question.
Ft. Washington, MD 1980. Shortly before, or during my parents divorce there was always a string of nameless, faceless family members or friends of my mothers in the house to "keep an eye on everything" or whatever. One of those thought it would be cool to take me outside and show me what a smok bomb was. These were just the little cherry bomb kind that blew a little color smoke for a few minutes. This might have been the moment I because so enraptured by that stuff. After what seemed like house (probably minutes) of pestering from my end, He gave me one. He told me to hold it with the wick facing him, he would light it, and I should throw it. I did. He did, and I did. Only I threw it right across the driveway, across the yard, into a pile of dried leaves that had been raked up next to a wodden shed. Hilarity ensued.
The smoke bomb burned. The pile of leaves burned. The Shed burned. The forrest behind out house started to burn. The firemen showed up and put it all out. I was 5 years old and it was definitly the coolest thing I'd seen in my entire life.