Happy birthday, America!
WOOT WOOT PATRIOTISM HAPPY 259TH BIRTHDAY AMERICA *waves red, white, and blue sparklers*
But, let's get real: everyone only cares about the fireworks.
I love apple pie and bald eagles as the next 'Murican, but I'm not necessarily looking to wave around a red, white, and blue flag on the Fourth. I'm more looking forward to those red, white, and blue streaks caused by explosions of lithium, strontium, magnesium, and copper.
I learned that in chemistry class, okay, don't judge my intelligence.
Britain has gun control and crumpets. Canada has free healthcare and money that smells like maple syrup when you scratch it. France even has mimes and beheaded monarchs!
But in America, we have EXPLOSIONS.
*cues patriotic graphic of Bruce-Willis-movie-esque explosions, followed by an entourage of star-spangled tanks controlled by bald eagles wearing blue suits and top hats.
I'm tired okay?
Digressions aside, fireworks have always colored my Fourths of July, literally and figuratively.
Before I would go to sleep, I would imagine running below those streaks of vibrant color, picking up the equally colorful jewels that were left behind. Yeah, I thought that fireworks left tracts of rubies and sapphires and emeralds. A girl can dream.
My family would camp out on the highway across from the river, waiting on a picnic blanket with our faces stuffed with watermelon, each of us wearing those cheesy American flag t-shirts from Old Navy. My brother and I would pass dozens of vendors selling snacks and whirring lights and glow-in-the-dark jewellery, asking our parents over and over again to buy us EVERYTHING. As soon as the fireworks would start, my brother's excitement would soon turn to horror, and his face would scrunch up with anger as he covered his ears.
Who knew loud noises could terrify a young child? Crazy.
Years passed, a little sister came along, but we always spent that night sitting on picnic blankets or chairs or park benches or just plain grass, surrounded by family, friends, and random strangers. I lit my first sparklers, took some of my first film photos, laughed for the first time at those random uber-patriots that randomly chant "U-S-A", got annoyed by my first crowds of hapless sheep leaving public places, spent one of my first days at a beach only with my friends (leading to one of the WORST SUNBURNS EVER).
Note to self: you are a pale human--WEAR SUNSCREEN.
Since then, the fireworks have switched rivers. Family and friends have left. Snack preferences have changed. We sat on highways, in parks, on streets, on walkways.
The one thing that never changes is, ironically, fleeting.
I guess what I want to say is, even though we aren't the best country, we certainly are one of the most proud. I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be able to watch celebrations along with millions of other Americans from hundreds of different backgrounds.
Now if we could just do something about that Congress...