I have to say, no matter what people who vote red in each election might claim, I love America. But I hate fireworks.

Big, pretty fireworks that can be seen from miles away are fine. It’s the ones that regular people decide to fire off at 10:45 in neighborhoods that I hate.

Is it wrong that I secretly hope the idiots who shoot off their fireworks long after little ones have gone to bed lose a finger or hand in the process? All I know is my blood pressure jumps way up during the weeks around July 4th when each naptime and bedtime is a race to get the girls asleep before they get scared by the explosions down the street.

I guess the argument for late fireworks is that with Daylight Savings Time, it doesn’t get completely dark until 9:30 to 10:00 in Indiana now.

My response to that is simple: drink more. As a few loyal readers of the blog can attest, I did a fine job shooting off fireworks nine years ago after I had downed massive amounts of scotch. And that, my friends, is a good story and why I’m bothering with this post. So let’s take a time machine back to 1998 and reminisce a little, shall we?

A woman who was then a good friend had just purchased a house and was very excited to host a large group for a party on July 4. There were rumors that I was going to be introduced to a coworker of hers, who several friends had confirmed was extremely attractive. We arrived early, and like good guests, brought a nice bottle of 12-year-old scotch. Feeling the nerves of the impending introduction, I decided to take the edge off and dipped right into the Glen Whatever. Since it was hot, I added ice, but as our group was in the process of discovering, water just got in the way.

The night progressed, we ate, talked, and drank more. Eventually, the young lady I thought I was going to get an introduction to arrived, although (Oh snap!) she had brought a date. Either that or she immediately started talking to another guy she had some interest in. Either way, she was thoroughly enthralled with their conversation and our introduction never took place. Feeling an urge to feel sorry for myself, I returned to the scotch bottle again.

And again.

And again.

I was bummed, but getting really happy drunk so it was a nice balance.

At some point in there, our hostess announced that she had purchased one of those big fireworks kits at Wal-Mart; you know, those shrink-wrapped assortments of about 30 different kinds of fireworks. She decided that I, the man who had about 1/2 a bottle of scotch in him already, needed to shoot them off for the neighborhood kids. Normally, I don’t want much to do with fireworks. But with a significant boost of liquid courage, and probably a pathetic belief that I might impress the girl who was still talking to the other guy, I accepted the offer and marched out into the street. For the next hour, I shot off everything in the package, with a few refills to my cup along the way. To this day, I don’t know how I didn’t either light myself on fire or blow myself, or someone else, up. had no business working with fire and small explosives, but somehow I pulled it off.

And you know what? I didn’t bitch about it not being dark yet. I lit those bitches off, the kids had a great time, and we were done by 10:00.

So kids, go get wasted and shoot your fireworks off early this July 4.

Oh, and that girl never did talk to me. But at the end of the night, the scotch bottle was empty, and as far as I remember, only one other person was drinking scotch that night.

So happy 4th.