Jul 7, 2008

Freedom From Tyranny, or Whatever

Photo: A sure sign of independence.

Fourth of July was awesome, which is even more awesome, because I tend to think of the Fourth as an amateur throwaway holiday. Singed faces, missing fingers, scorch marks upon the earth; afterwards, it's as though an agitated dragon has visited each and every neighborhood, leaving behind burnt evidence of his wrath. Last year was the first super fun Fourth I had, hanging on Arlene's houseboat and kicking it with Kate. The Esq took Joshy up to his parents' house, where they blew shit up and became men, or whatever guys do on the Fourth of July.

Despite all of the fun this year, the holiday itself remains a mystery to me, because no one actually celebrates our nation's independence--nobody even pretends to be interested. The resolution to our independence was actually approved in Congress on July 2nd and publicized on July 4th, but nobody cares. I'll bet America cares. If it was your birthday, and everyone decided to celebrate your birth two days later--every single year--you would care, too. I also equate the Fourth of July to the Fifth of May; Cinco de Mayo is an amateur drinking holiday that Americans celebrate whether they know a Mexican or not, and the Fourth of July is celebrated every year with tons of booze and very little knowledge of the United States, even though we all live here. This is our history, people! The day we became independent from the British did not include hot dogs and public drunkenness; it was not about getting an even tan, or buying dangerous explosives for toddlers from a dwindling tribe of Indians. No one even knows what Independence Day is about, which is why I'm providing this link for you: Freedom isn't free! Click on the link and be saved. I had a client last Thursday, a younger woman, who summed it all up for me in just two sentences: "I'm, like, gonna go and, like, celebrate Independence Day with margaritas in the park? Oh my God, and I love that Will Smith movie." Margaritas, the park, and Will Smith in the movie Independence Day (where he and Jeff Goldblum saved us from the martians, not illegal aliens); this is what our nation's independence has been reduced to.

Speaking of total ignorance, do you know the history behind Cinco de Mayo? It seems as though Americans aren't very thoughtful when it comes to other cultures, either (surprise!). Most of my friends think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, much like our Fourth of July. Celebrating their independence comes at a hefty price, though; four to eight margaritas. This is how we honor our neighbors to the South. "We're celebrating *slurp* Mexico's Independence Day!" "OhmyGod, where's my camera?! *slurp* We need a picture of you in that authentic Mexican hat-thingy!" "Mexican chicks are hot, dude. *slurp* Remember Anna? She was half-Mexican." "Woo-hoo, Mexico! *slurp* You are now free!" I think Americans like to think that they personally freed the Mexicans from slavery, or tyranny (which sounds a lot cooler); Americans also seem to believe that for every watered-down margarita they have, a Mexican child will get their wings. It's noble, really, all of this rampant alcoholism to save the children. Unfortunately, Mexico's Independence Day is on September 16th; Cinco de Mayo is a throwaway holiday, even to the Mexicans.

This is what you're celebrating on the Fifth of May: in 1861, Mexico--like an out-of-work older brother who always finds trouble--quit making interest payments on loans it had received earlier. In response, France (and other European countries) attacked in order to force payment of the debt incurred. On May 5, 1862, the French were defeated in the city of Puebla. This is what we as a country celebrate together at private parties, barbecues, picnics, and every bar imaginable, across the entire nation: Mexico being cheap assholes and dodging their creditors. When I successfully evade my creditors, no one gets drunk on my behalf, much less an entire country. I think it's bizarre.

Also bizarre is my take on fireworks, which is this: they will kill you. Those stupid M80's sound like a pirate ship has landed in your backyard, Roman candles have a very 'Saving Private Ryan'-type screech about them, and sparklers are just glittery, anorexic harbingers of doom (I know a girl who could be described like this). I don't know how everyone can be so cavalier about death, every single year; I like my fingers, and I'm attached to my face, even if I don't exactly like it. While everyone was tempting Fate, I was hiding behind our car in the driveway. Eventually, though, I saw Joshy holding a Roman candle and shooting off fireworks like Shaft, or Neo in The Matrix; I thought, fireworks are dangerous, but a gun made of fireworks...that sounded like a good idea. The Esq hooked me up with one, and it was pretty dope. I felt like Harry Potter, as though magic were shooting out of my fingertips; Josh and I kept yelling 'Expecto Patronum!', which is only funny if you are Harry Potter nerds like us. I did it twice, so we could get photographic proof of my firework badassery, and still lived--but I won't be doing it again. As the Esq noted, I'm very pet-like in my fear of fireworks; I'll need a whole year to recover.

During the day, the girls from my apartment building (my awesome, amazing apartment building) got together for an in-building spa day. We combined forces and did mini pedicures, facials, massage, and tarot cards; halfway in, there was a knock on the door, and when we opened it, pink champagne had been delivered! Afterwards, another couple from the building (Robin and Krista), Joshy, the Esq and I headed to the parents' house in Bothell; apparently, their neighborhood spends more money on fireworks than the entire state of Washington. The fireworks were as good as the ones on Lake Union, but there were MORE of them and they went on for much, much longer. How embarrassing for the state of Washington, really; Bothell--the smaller suburb of Canyon Park, more specifically--just kicked Washington's ass in the firework department. Bounce back from that.

Yesterday was a red-letter day, work-wise. All of my clients were beyond outstanding, and I made a shit ton of money; the only way it could have been topped is if someone offered me a book deal, or my very own spaceship. Hint, hint.

***New photos on the photo blog and apartment blog.


Buttercup said...

The 4th of July has nothing to do with the birth of our country. It has to do with the birth of ME. Duh. Until stupid Brian Freese in the 1st grade spoiled it for me, I thought the fireworks were FOR me because my grandpa told me that. I threw a kick ball right in his face when he told me and called him a liar.

WenigGluckliches said...

When i hear "the 4th of July" all i can picture is Tom Cruise pissing, shitting and puking himself in a hospital bed.

Where he belongs.

Manthony said...

That was an EPIC post! I'm shocked to hear that our forefathers didn't enjoy a weenie roast right after signing the Declaration of Independence. Are you sure? Do you have proof? Can you back up your claims?

And I love the new meaning of the term "sparkler."

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Dude, Wikipedia's word is bond.

Erin the Pat-riot said...

Um, excuse me. I'll use any damned excuse to drink, I thank you. What kind of red blooded American are you anyway? So unpatriotic...disparaging the 5th of May! I love Tequila til you puke day!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

"Tequila til you puke day"... yep, that really says it all. Whenever I miss a bill payment, I do tequila shots, too; the entire country does.