I laughed out loud when I saw the name of this pyrotechnic. About 3 years ago I spent the afternoon/evening with dear friends who annually celebrate the 4th with many neighbors on their block. As evening falls upon us the more orderly neighbors will begin lighting off legal fireworks in the street while another blasts out patriotic Paul Revere tunes from massive speakers. Think: food, friends, fun, lights, and big oooohs and ahhhhhs for all.
On this particular 4th one neighbor had a weeeee bit too much of the liquor and hauled out her $3000 stash of illegal fireworks to light up the neighborhood. It was a freaking gas-an-a-half to see a light show that contained some insanely big bangs that paralleled Disney in the distance. Drunken antics aside, I almost passed out half hysterically and half fearfully when a big ol' firework landed on her roof and the son had to frantically get up there with the fire extinguisher to hose it off. And I was seriously peeing my pants laughing when the police choppers started flying over looking for the illegal firework perpetrator who is a mid-50's mom. But the fun and games came to an abrupt halt just as the neighbor's crew was about to light off the biggest whacker of them all. Suddenly a very nice plain-clothes police officer came strolling out of the bushes and ruined all the fun by confiscating the remainder of the stash while poor neighbor sloppily sobbed out an apology never to do it again (and she is genuinely a dear heart who just had a lit-tle too much festive drink that day). So with this, and several other horror stories in mind, I present to you my personal list of safety essentials that are crucial for surviving 4th of July at the beach....can you tell I'm just aching for the weekend to start?
1. Flame Retardant Suit - If you are spending the 4th in your own beach community there is a high likelihood of you needing this suit. One year I rolled up to my garage only to be greeted by a very large red fire truck in the alley. Apparently the yahoo neighbors in back, who had been lighting off their illegal fireworks all week leading up to the 4th, missed one crucial pyrotechnic. When they accidentally threw it in the trash it exploded under the heat of the burning hot sun thereby setting flame to the back of their fence, patio awning, the other neighbor's roof, and all the trash cans. Can you say roaring blaze?? Even I know ya don't pull that one..from when I was a kid and my little brother left his illegal fireworks on the kitchen table IN THE SUN while my mom was at church. Think zhooom BANG red sparks, zhooooooom BANG green sparks, ZHOOOOOOOM BANG mom's gonna kick your ass when she gets home if she can find you in the smoke filled house. No jokes. Uh, remodeled kitchen and living room anyone?
2. Jet Black Mirrored Sunglasses. The kind you can see out of, but no one can see in. Brace yourself for this one: in the chef's parents' neighborhood it goes completely hog wild. You can't get in, you can't get out - it's a hawt mess. And apparently it's not entirely unheard of to see the occasional drunken topless girl riding up and down the streets on a beach cruiser. Ick nast. You really do not want to mess with an inebriated fool so let the sunglasses mask your eye rolls - and keep your retinas from burning out of your head.
3. Purell. If you're brave enough to take on a very busy walk-through neighborhood with bars and such, unfortunately someone might throw up on your foot. I'm not kidding. Some people have no shame and are completely out of control. Purell people, PURELL.
4. Earplugs. They help me to sleep in the days leading up to the 4th when the cuckoo birds in back light off fireworks until 2AM with no regard for the working folk. They also block out the mayhem after the fireworks when everyone and their mother goes stomping by my house for hours to get to their illegally parked vehicles that I've had towed from in front of my garage. Guess they thought the "NO PARKING" sign didn't apply to them.
5. Wet Ones. Think #3. Only in the event of a slightly larger spill. Sadly it's not unheard of. Chef's even seen guys pee in the street before. Just thinking about the splash that could hit my toes makes me shudder.
6. Band-Aids. Happens without fail almost every year someone falls down in front of my house (not my fault - think tipsy or stampede). Like any good neighbor I will help if I don't have my earplugs in. They're going to need something to ease the pain when they get around back to my garage and their car is gone.
7. Fire Extinguisher. Imagine if I had come home to that raging trash can and no one was home to call the fire department. My now much more grown-up brother is, ironically, a proud member of the fire department - and he is adamant about me having a fire extinguisher. I imagine it could also come in handy if you had to hose a drunken passed out person off your front steps. True story about the drunk person - not about the hose. I just politely hollered "get up and keep it movin' buddy. This is not a rest stop!"
8. And finally, the Cocktail. If you live at the beach and there is an evening fireworks display within walking distance, you will have people from all over in tarnation descend upon your neighborhood in droves. To survive this day and hang onto your religion in the process, I highly recommend a cocktail or two to ease your pain. This too shall pass.
All jokes aside - even though you can find many of the things I've listed on the 4th of July (especially at the beach) - there are many, many stand-up Americans both locally and nationwide who take great pride in celebrating and commemorating the day with integrity. Like any other situation, there will be fools who act out of line - you just have to do your best to pick activities wisely and steer clear of mayhem - which can most definitely be done. I am looking forward to celebrating with local "adopted" family and friends this year. Not to sound corny or anything - but the US is a great country to live in and I am proud to have the ability to do so.
Happy Monday everyone!! Only a few more days!!