Modern Fireworks

You know what kind of trend I hate? I hate the trend that takes a perfectly beautiful, simple thing and tries to add on to it, thus creating some strange mathematical equation like the ones I could never understand in my youth where a positive and a positive suddenly equals a negative.

I’m talking about the new idea some cutting-edge DJ had of combining fireworks with a medley of patriotic songs.

Last weekend some friends took us to one of those Fourth of July country club soirees that start in the afternoon with swimming and face-painting and snow-cones for the kids, followed by dinner with the bugs and then an endless wait for the main event: the fireworks.

There is kind of a build-up to the fireworks in the last half-hour before dark, where all of the kids grab blankets and sit on the lawn near the water and look up at the sky in wait and where the parents stop drinking and fall into a contemplative state of happy patriotism. This is the point where I think back to the fireworks of my youth, where the only sound was the pop of the display when it finally hit the place in the sky where it was destined to explode.

Now I can’t really hear the pop. Or the sizzle that the really cool ones make that peter out and then end in little snapping bubbles of color. I can only hear the words to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA blasting from a poor quality speaker a couple of feet from my ear.

And if they insist on this over-stimulation, could they at least leave the finale alone? After all, the finale of a fireworks display is a magic that cannot be messed with. There is the fake finale, with several big explosions in a row that have you dreading that the end is near, and then a few more ordinary fireworks that hand you hope that the real finale is a little further ahead.

Then. There it comes. More amazing and loud and beautiful than last year. And you would be thinking you are proud to be an American, but you don’t have to. The song the DJ is playing is saying that for you.

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