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    Friday, June 30, 2006

    Comedic Editorial: Be Patriotic, Blow up the Neighborhood

    Be Patriotic, Blow Up the Neighborhood

    Life was so much simpler when we were kids. There was no job we had to sell a part of our souls to go to everyday. We didn't have to fill out complicated tax forms or risk going to jail because we forgot to carry the one or didn't realize that a mechanical bull isn't a healthcare expense.

    Death wasn't hiding around every corner waiting to catch us off-guard so he could fill his quota and let us wander in front of a bus, over an open sewer hole or into a pitbull breeding farm with sausages in our pockets.

    We feared nothing, we wanted to experience everything and we thought we could live forever. Boy, we were stupid. When you're born into this world, you literally think that nothing can hurt you. Your mind is only focused on what's stimulating about it, what's exciting about it, what's fun about it.

    They don't know the consequences yet because it looks like too much fun.That's why kids are always leaping off roofs with umbrellas, jumping cars with their skateboards or playing catch with bear cubs.

    I long for that mindset in this day and age when the local news loves to scare people into watching stories about "What You Don't Know About Toothpaste Can Kill You" and "Sneeze Guards Can Either Be Your Best Friend or Your Most Bloodthirsty Enemy."

    Adults love to create enemies for their kids because fear is a cheap babysitter. Rock music usually fits the profile. Anti-music advocates like to say it promotes drug use, violent tendencies and Satanic messages in its lyrics, which is hard to prove when they can't make out half of the words anyway.

    When a kid gets hurt by a certain toy, parents like to scream bloody murder about how they worry the Hasbro corporation is committing genocide for the sake of a quick buck as opposed to worrying about how their child was dumb enough to lose a limb with a Nerf football.

    But around the Fourth of July, parentls always rely on an old favorite form of fear to ferment in the foreheads of frazzled folks (no, not alliteration): fireworks. It's the same sad story. Some kid in a backwater town goes to a clearing with some friends to celebrate the independence and sacrifice made by our forefathers by blowing up the world with a mess of M-80s, Black Cats and Testosterrors. He lights one in his hands, rears his arm back and flings his arm forward with a huge smile on his face. There's just one problem. He forgot to let go. He gets third degree burns, grounded for the summer and has to learn how to make armpit fart noises with his left hand, and the rest of the neighborhood doesn't get to have any fun on the fourth.

    Then, years later, we scratch our heads and wonder why voter turnout is so low. This year, however, cities and counties are banning fireworks not because they'll injure the wee-ones. Some parts of the country have gotten so dry during the summer that they are afraid the fireworks could cause rolling wildfires.

    That's right, Lil' Johnny is not only endangering himself by lighting that Whirly-Bird, he's in danger of turning the whole town into a crispy chicken chunk.

    Fireworks are dangerous and could possibly cause some of the problems these people are worried about. But it's only one day a year. It's not like we're asking to have fireworks going off every single day. It's a tradition.

    Blowing up America on the 4th of July is like having turkey at Thanksgiving, jack-o-lanterns at Halloween and Dad passed out drunk in the egg nog at Christmas.It's celebrating the gallantry and bravery made by our Revolutionary forefathers who used explosives to fight off the British and win back their independence.

    It's in our theme song. "And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." I didn't hear anything about wussy snap-pops or sparklers once in that song.

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