Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fireworks and the Fourth

I've always enjoyed watching fireworks. The colors, the noise, the potential flirtation with danger, has always made an appealing combination for me. Growing up in the People's Republic of California, there were (are still) pretty severe restrictions on what can be legally purchased, so I didn't shoot a lot of big stuff. Still most years, the brothers and I would gather in the yard in the evening of the Fourth, arm ourselves with Supersoakers to extinguish any stray fires (we lived in the desert, and fireworks don't absolve you of responsibilities) and set off a few Piccolo Petes and wave sparklers around.

Of course, boys grow up, and sometimes they move to states with less restrictive regulations. The shot below is what we hope to be firing off this year.

Lots of fountains, mortars, Roman candles,
and a hundred pop-its.

There's a rich history of celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, dating back to 1777. Before that, fireworks were so popular in Elizabethan England that they were mentioned in some of Shakespeare's plays. While they've certainly gotten fancier in the intervening centuries, I like to think that when we light off our Roman candles and mortars on the Fourth, we join in a tradition that connects us to the days of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and the rest of the great men who founded this nation.

It's interesting to realize that, when this tradition first started, America was still very much a untamed continent. Most boys learned to hunt, and if they weren't apprenticed to become tradesmen in a city, would likely become farmers. Losing a finger lighting or throwing the fireworks of the day was likely very far down on the danger list.

Now, of course, we strap our kids into special car seats and keep them there until they're 8. God forbid that they should ride their bikes without helmets, or play in the grass for five minutes without being slathered in mosquito repellent. It saddens me to say that I know multiple parents (okay, mothers) who forbid their kids from watching anything even remotely violent (awful fodder like Disney's Sleeping Beauty is right out), and ban toy guns and swords from their homes.

It was a big day for me when I was finally allowed to light something more dangerous than a sparkler on the Fourth. I just hope that when my son reaches that age, there'll still be something legal to light.