Post 4th-Of-July Musing, Or, How I Burned My Hand With A Bottle Rocket


The Bottle Rocket, in Atlanta (src)



While I would like to blame my lack of updates on a post-Independence day, freedom-induced haze…it’s really just a busy life combined with procrastination. I apologize, of course, but I know you, gentle reader, will understand!

In the dark evening of July 4th, my friends and I stood in the alley in Germantown, a small section of Louisville, lighting off fireworks more than a year old and watching various explosions happen on the ground, in the sky, and dangerously near power lines and other apparatus. When given what I thought was a Roman Candle like device, I held it in my hand, lit the fuse, and waited. As sparks begin to fly and my hand got very hot, my friends yelled “drop it! drop it! let it go!” at which point I let the firework fall from my hand, burning and smoking, to the cold asphalt. Bottle rockets, of course, must be released to fly away, and the “handle” is merely a pole from which to balance. The only damage was the fright to my fiancee, who proclaimed “never again!” – this after I lit another firework – also meant to be shot up from an enclosure – directly on the ground, whereupon it lept towards the crowd and everyone screamed.

We had several of these scares throughout the night, the most serious of them being the fellow across the street who (and this makes sense – what other night could you get away with this?), fired off several rounds of a pistol amidst our comparatively weak firework noises. We saw the police visit him later, but earlier he was kind enough to donate a coke bottle to us for the proper launching of bottle rockets.

The thing most interesting thing to me about the night, and the whole weekend really, was the double ironic nature of the parties, celebrations, and firework ignitions that followed. We all yelled ” ‘Merica!” and “freedom!” in what we thought was an ironic nature, and ate delicious vegan food instead of the typical dead-cow and pig meals that most¬†Independence¬†Day celebrators gorged on. At the same time, we did indeed gather, enjoy each other’s company, and exercised freedom – we lit off fireworks, cursed, yelled, and made fun of whomever we choose. In that respect, who’s really making fun of whom? Is it really ironic? I argue it isn’t, and the pseudo-hipster celebration of the 4th of July is indeed one of the truest celebrations of American freedom after all. We had fun with our friends and did as we pleased. What could be more American?