It’s that time of year again: the 4th of July. Also more appropriately known as Independence Day for obvious reasons. It was 243 years ago that the Declaration of Independence was signed where we (The United States) basically told England to go fuck themselves because we didn’t need them and their yuppy-ass tea anymore. Americans take this day off work to sweat in the July heat, grill out, and drink copious amounts of beer/alcohol while trying to blow their fingers/hands/arms off with fireworks that may or may not be illegal depending on what state you reside. When you look at what people actually do on Independence Day and compare it to the actual meaning of the day you’ll end up confused. But all of those things are somehow really stereotypically American so maybe it is fitting after all. Maybe July 4th is just a day for Americans to be unashamedly American drinking beer, grilling, and lighting off fireworks that came from China.
Perceived History Sucks
A quick history lesson: nothing really happened on July 4, 1776 besides the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Looking back this was important but the US wasn’t exactly “founded” on this day as most people seem to believe. The battles of Lexington and Concord (the start of the Revolutionary War) took place in 1775 and the Revolutionary War ended in 1783: over seven full years after the declaration was signed! Even more silly is the fact that the modern U.S. Constitution was a mulligan because the prior Articles of Confederation was dogshit and it was ratified in 1790: 13 fucking years after the Declaration. From an actual historical perspective July 4, 1776 — while a big deal — wasn’t as big as a few other key moments in our nation’s early history. I wouldn’t call it “the beginning” of the U.S. of A. at least.
Not that any of that matters because I doubt the average ‘Merican has any idea about what actually occurred 240ish years ago. We drink beer, grill, and blow shit up. Who cares? I imagine the typical ‘Merican believes that July 4 was the day that George Warshington rowed his boat across the Mississippi River, chucking tea overboard, while an eagle flew overhead with a 50-star red, white, and blue flag in its proud talons. He went to Warshington Dee See and wrote the constitution himself with an eagle-feather pen. Shortly after that, Samuel Adams created Budweiser Beer. That’s how ‘Merica really began.
Another traditional part of the July 4th celebrations is partying. People usually invite over their friends (or get invited over by friends if they don’t have their own homes) and sit around and drink beer or something. White People usually listen to radio-friendly 70’s or 80’s rock music where the same Motley Crue song you’ve heard 1,000 fucking times is played so you can hear it for the 1,001 time. I’m very glad we live in a more “ethnic” area of town; lucky there isn’t any White People around blasting their goddamn Dad Rock and drinking Budweiser while they wear wife-beaters and american flag shorts.
(I should note that I myself am white and even I hate the typical White People culture. Were fucking stupid sometimes.)
We apparently have quite a few Mexican (or hispanic) families that live near us because we’ve been hearing that typical ethnic-latino music all day today. It’s actually refreshing to hear something other than typical White People music and I can’t help but admire Mexican families for their ability to have real parties. White People parties are usually only like 10 people sitting around in lawn chairs not saying much to one another and it’s borderline depressing. Mexicans play music where the bass (It’s always really uplifting too. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a depressing Mexican Party Bass Line) can be heard all over the neighborhood and they always look like they’re having a real party. There’s people swimming and dancing and jumping and smacking pinatas with sticks/bats/whatever and the kids are running around the yard like they’re on crack or something. It’s great to witness. 4th of July is no exception and the Mexican Bass is envelops the neighborhood like the July heat does except that it’s refreshing. It’s kinda ironic in a way that Mexican families pull off Independence Day better than White People do. Somehow I feel more American hearing Mexican Bass Lines on July 4th.
We went downtown where the fireworks shot off are almost exactly the same as they have been for the past decade. I knew this before we even saw them, but nobody had to tell me in advance; they’re always the same thing. There are some small variations but they are minor and I just can’t bring myself to be excited that they made smiley-face fireworks this year. I quit being excited for fireworks when I was about 16 and I don’t see how anyone older than that still enjoys them. Over the people, traffic, and bullshit that they must deal with do these people really enjoy it still?
We parked a half-mile away and started on our hike to our traditional viewing spot; a spot a quarter-mile from where they actually shoot the damn things off. We get as close as possible to the river that splits our city in half, and across that river is where they shoot the damn things off. We can’t sit right next to the river because that is some special, locked-off area that only paying customers are allowed access to. I’ve never understood why people sit there as our free spot is just as good, but perhaps they offer beer or some special crowd experience. I don’t know. Either way we started walking to our traditional spot.
On the way to our traditional spot a few teenagers started following us. One was a really talkative teenager while his friend seemed to only listen; I never heard him say a damn thing. This isn’t notable at all until I really listened to the talkative one: he seemed to say the word “bro” at the end of every sentence like it was a period. I’m not joking, every sentence ended in “bro” and it only took three sentences for me to know something was comically wrong with the way he talked.
“Man, fuck that shit, bro.”
“I do what I want and no one is going to tell me otherwise, bro.”
“Yeah I know, bro! That’s what I’ve been fuckin’ trying to tell you, bro.”
“I know but you’re not listening to me, bro! I said fuck ‘em, bro.”
It happened like that for at least 10 minutes. I laughed my ass off every time he finished his sentences. Making this even funnier was the fact that this “teenager” was really only like 10, maybe 11. He was cussing like a sailor and saying “bro” to end every sentence. People really exists like this? This
teenager boy isn’t being ironic? Bro.
“I do what I want and no one is going to tell me otherwise, bro.”-Some Kid at the Goddamn Fireworks
Anyway, we get to the fireworks and they start on-time at 9:30 after mentioning the sponsors. I’ve never noticed it before but apparently the fireworks (called “SkyConcert 2019”) are broken into three “acts,” each separated by a mention of the sponsors. I don’t know if all cities do this but Rockford, Illinois always has some synced music to the 30-minute firework display, once again called “SkyConcert 2019.” The songs played were the same: the show always begins with the National Anthem, features “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong somewhere in the middle, and ends with the “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky. I didn’t even know the closing song was the “1812 Overture” but a quick Google search for “firework finale songs” pointed me right at it. I mean it’s a perfect song for it, but currently it’s too perfect and now just expected at the end. Every firework “SkyConcert” I’ve seen has had this song plopped right at the end. Obviously.
Other typical songs are Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” and a handful of country songs that I don’t know the names of (because I don’t listen to shitty music). Since I was paying attention, I was actually surprised that the second “act” nearly all consisted of Shitty Country Songs, some kinda slow and emotional and others a bit more upbeat. It makes a sad sort of sense though; country music is by default the music that represents the U.S. of A. even if it is trash. I don’t know how this happened exactly, but it sure is shitty.
I was also surprised to not hear Katy Perry this year. This is one of those small, subtle changes that you don’t really notice and is what differentiates SkyConcerts from other SkyConcerts. I guess Katy Perry isn’t big enough to be in firework displays now?
There were little fireworks, big fireworks that go BOOOOM, smiley-face fireworks, red white and blue fireworks, sparkly fireworks, glittery fireworks, and fireworks that sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies cereal just after milk has been added. The finale sounded (like it always has) like every explosive device they had as a spare standby was lit just to get rid of it with a constant rumbling ROAAAAR over the city for a few minutes. As a naive kid I actually thought they lit off spares at the finale while now I know it is all perfectly programmed to perfection with zero randomness. If anything I get joy out of seeing a firework explode way too low where you know it was a genuine accident because the rest of the show is so damn banal now. It’s cool seeing shit explode, but seeing it year after year so rehearsed and programmed makes it boring.
So I went home and drank a Joose and Bud Light Chelada. I really went with Joose because I was in the mood to be as trashy as possible with my drinking today. I wasn’t trying to lie to myself here: I wasn’t happy and I felt dirty and I knew I had to drink as part of my 4th of July duties. Budweiser would’ve been the most patriotic choice, but Joose seemed a natural go-to as it offers 14% alcohol by volume, is cheap, and has a note on the side of the can that states: “PREMIUM MALT BEVERAGE WITH NATURAL FLAVORS….” Premium Beverage my ass, it’s trashy as fuck (I was going to post a photo but even that was too trashy.). But that’s how I’m closing off this shitty holiday. Have a fun and safe 4th everyone even if it is over. This holiday Sucks.