Saturday, July 04, 2015

fireworks vs. firecrackers

I guess I can understand fireworks, with their pyrotechnical bombast (like this sentence), luminosity in the night, concussive heart-thumping, high-decibel drama, and aesthetic symmetry -- not to mention their evocation of adult and youthful oohs and ahs. I consider fireworks a communal and celebratory ode to military use of ordnance in accord with ancient traditions. We can debate the demerits or merits of corporate or municipal fireworks, but not here, not now.

Firecrackers are something else altogether. I think of firecrackers as one-offs for personal use. I don't get them or their use. What's the point? Especially M-80s, or whatever the hideously loud ones are called. I might even get it if, in America, firecrackers were ignited simultaneously, making a common statement (what sort of statement, I honestly can't say for sure) at an opportune time, such as the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve (apparently this was a huge thing in Berlin, at least several years ago). 

But a random firecracker in the middle of the night? What's the point? Is it some sort of audible chest thumping? A provocation, a spit-at-you-all, a testosterone rant, a protest, a type of trash-talking? 

Perhaps my opposition to firecrackers derives from memories of my boyhood, when neighborhood kids would insert a firecracker or two under the turtle's shell. Just to watch him die, to borrow from a Johnny Cash tune. (I can't be making this memory up.) I was not immune to lighting the little firecrackers that looked like birthday candles. We also had a habit of breaking one in half and then stomping on it. Smart. 

On this Fourth of July I'd gladly forgo hearing one more firecracker, though it is merely 1:23 a.m. The holiday is just beginning.But it's beyond me what this has to do with independence, freedom, and all that.

No comments: