Celebrating The Fourth Eureka, California Style

Every year it's the same. The Fourth of July in Eureka, California brings out some the dumbest people saying and doing some of the most ridiculous things. This year it was just me and my daughter, and she wanted to check out the fireworks.

I'm not big on displays of patriotism. I'll admit the fireworks look cool, but I see no need to celebrate false notions of freedom with explosions. Most people see it differently, however, which I guess explains all those 9/11 DVDs in the porn store. My daughter didn't even remember last year's display, so I felt like it was taking her for the first time. Not that that would matter, as I would take her a hundred times if that was what she wanted to do. I enjoy every minute with her ... even if it is something I don't like doing.

I thought the fireworks started at nine, but knew from living in Old Town for years that the good places to view it would fill up fast. Nothing brings out a crowd of morons like colorful lights in the sky.

My daughter and I arrived at our spot a little after seven. We stationed ourselves up near the Ignomar Club. There was actually an older couple there already. They would not stop talking to us. The guy kept assuring me that if we waited people down below would be setting off little displays as soon as it got dark. That's one thing I never understood, either. People go to see these things to see huge displays costing thousands of dollars. Why do two guys with a sack full of Roman Candles even try to compete? The only good that can come out of that is a trip to the ER. (Later, when some of these yokels lit some Jumping Jacks or something, my daughter said, "I'm not very impressed." She also started calling people "bitches" and "shits." I don't know where she gets that from, but I couldn't correct her because she was right.)

The spot we picked quickly filled up. Men wearing flag print jackets. Women wearing cowboy hats with flashing lights on them. Cars with flags on their antennae. Shouldn't that shit be illegal?

A little after ten the fireworks begin, and it was the usual awe-inspiring display. As the explosives shot into the fog, muted flashes of green, white and red led some people to just nod their heads. Every year it's the same. Fog. Morons. More fog. This year my car got boxed in by some "shit," as my daughter would say, who double parked. In her defense, she almost ran over a group of people at the end of the display by not looking behind her when she backed up. I was tempted to dial 9-1-1 and report her for being drunk and adding to dispatch that she loudly proclaimed she'd kill any cop who tried to pull her over. (I did something similar to that once. I imagine it worked wonders.)

On the way home, stopping every ten feet for some jackass trying to cross the road, we saw an ambulance loading some guy in. I kept hoping he had been lighting fireworks and a quarter stick turned his hand to mist. I couldn't tell, but I imagined him saying to a group of his friends, "This fucker is gonna be loud!" And then it goes off. He falls backward almost in slow motion. He can't hear anything because his ears are ringing too damn loudly, but he sees his friend Paul, his best bud and co-worker, mouth, "Fuck!" His right arm is throbbing. He holds it up, but something is wrong. It seems lighter. Where did his hand go? It's just a stump. A bloody, burned stump. Shock sets in. The shakes. The throb threatens to put him under.

And that's why I love the Fourth. It helps dumb shits remember that sometimes, just sometimes, Social Darwinism works. We can protect people from themselves until we drown in our stupidity (and the only reason we haven't is not from lack of trying), but we can't do it all the time. Had I seen him blow off his hand, I would not place the call. I'd let him bleed out. I'd say, "It's about the the stupid were made to be responsible for their own actions." It's called justice, and if you want real freedom you have to understand that with it comes some real responsibility.

Happy Fourth. Here's to hoping your neighbors are liquored up with a bag of M-80s. And here's to hoping you have a video camera and can't "find" the phone.

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