Here’s the deal.  July fourth was never one of my favorite holidays.  You don’t get candy or presents.  You don’t get love notes or an excuse to wear green.  You don’t even get to stay up until midnight.  It’s not well defined.  As a kid, I never knew exactly what was going on.  Partly because the things we do to celebrate on this day have no particular relationship to the reason we’re celebrating.

What are we celebrating?  Every year, on July 4th, we celebrate the fact that on July 2nd, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain.  At the time, John Adams wrote that July 2nd “will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival.”  But, regardless of whether or not we’re a couple of days off, we’re basically saying, “Ha, ha, England, you can’t tell us what to do anymore.”

Although I risk the Tea Party’s ire, I’m not so psyched about this message anymore.  I mean, we’ve been friends with England for quite awhile now.  Are we still bragging about this?  And what about the other European nations that colonized North America?  Why don’t we celebrate the end to the Dutch tyrants who ruled over much of New England?  That’s right Netherlandians, you can’t tell us what to do either.  We’re independent.  Geez, we sound like a teenager that just moved out of his parents’ house…two hundred and twenty five years ago.

And how do we celebrate America?  With uniquely American traditions, of course…with British outings (picnics), Carribean food (barbecue) and one of China’s most famous inventions (fireworks).  Yay, America.

Of course, fireworks are the big thing.  First created in China to scare off evil spirits, we now celebrate our independence by blowing off our appendages with these explosives.  In 2010, there were nearly 9,000 firework-related trips to Emergency Rooms (69% of which came around the July 4th holiday).  We are like teenagers.  Hey, England, we’ve got our own apartment now…and we’re gonna light things on fire.  Suckers.

Spice Girls at the O, da esquerda para a direi...

Image via Wikipedia

For me, this holiday is mostly an inconvenience.  This is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year and, here in LA, we celebrate by parking on the freeway driving to the beach.  Unless we live near the beach, then we drive inland.  If we live in the north, we drive south.  If we live in the south, we drive north.  Wherever we live, we drive to someplace else.  Why?  Because a couple of centuries ago we decided to be our own country and that’s worth driving about.

I’m sorry.  I don’t like barbecue.  Fireworks are overrated.  I prefer the Spice Girls to Stars and Stripes.  I’ve never understood parades.  Eating on a blanket is not more fun than eating at a dining room table.  And nobody likes traffic. 

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I shut down our country’s most patriotic holiday?  Oh, I won’t.  Not a chance.  I’d have a better shot at getting more Google hits than, say, Patton Oswalt.  I just wanted to voice my objection.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like this country.  It’s my favorite country I’ve ever lived in.  I just wonder if this holiday makes any sense.  But, as long as I’m stuck on the 405, you might as well pass me a Sparkler.

  1. heathersnyder1 says:

    I love 4th of July. But, I hate all the crazy traffic. It’s a mad rush to get the absolute best seats to watch the fireworks. The pushing and the shoving is crazy. But, in the end if I get up to the front of the line and if a few children get tossed aside in the process, then so be it.

    There’s always the 4th of July sales to remind us to be proud of our country, too. Who doesn’t love a good half off the price of shoes or a great 4th of July cell phone deal to remind us of people that fought for our freedom.

    I will have to say, the best fireworks show I have ever seen has been when I was on an airplane from Washington/Dulles airport flying to Kalispell, MT at night. I could see all of the fireworks looking down below. There were so many towns that had fireworks in the route that I took. Even though they looked like sparkely dots, it was spectacular.

  2. angelina says:

    Who thought of eating outside?? I dont like eating outside. One word…bugs.. I dont like to spend my time guarding my food from walking and flying pests. I want to spend my time eating and enjoying my food but i cant because there is a giant grandaddy longlegs crawling up my ankle and gnats in my hair. Its gross. If we have to picnic for the 4th or any other time can we please do it indoors

  3. It is July 2–someone in our neighborhood has got it right–they have been setting off fireworks ALL DAY!

    (Hint: They look better when set off at NIGHT!)

  4. I agree with you Makya, barbecue is nasty. Who invented that crap? Not to mention, the fireworks displays for the 4th usually don’t compare to the fireworks at Walt Disney World (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM and Animal Kingdom) every night of the year. Pales in comparison.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Heather – Even great minds can disagree from time to time. Plus, I had no idea fireworks were better when viewed from above…next time I have some, I’ll dig a pit and then look down at them going off.

      Angelina – That’s right. Even Neanderthals had the sense to eat in a cave. Are we not smarter than Neanderthals? Have we learned nothing?

      Elizabeth – That’s a good hint. Note to self (a) fireworks are better at night (b) fireworks are better from above and (c) eating in a cave is awesome.

      Paul Lover – I think it was invented by Barbara Quickman (her friends called her Barbie Q.)…no, my interns are telling me that I just made that up…and now I’m realizing that I don’t, in fact, have any interns and I need to ask these college students to get out of my apartment…

      • heathersnyder1 says:

        Yayyy! That’s the first time someone has said that I’ve got a great mind. I’ve been trying to tell people that forever.

      • I thought it was named Barbie-Q after pagan ritual where they used to put Barbie dolls on the grill in a sacrificial ceremony.
        Did you ever get those intern posers out of your apartment?

      • Makya McBee says:

        Yes, thanks for asking. I sprayed my apartment with Intern-Be-Gone over the holiday weekend.

  5. roxyhart1973 says:

    Good suggestions on the readers comments. I will go to my cave now and have a picnic. I will probably hold off on setting off fireworks inside of the cave, though.

  6. I’ve linked to Makya McBee Vs. July Fourth, so my readers can enjoy your take on the holiday.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I love the Spice Girls.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Everyone loves the Spice Girls…only the brave among us are willing to admit it. Did you see their movie, Spice World? Should have been a lock for an Oscar.

      • Jennifer says:

        Hi, I’m Jennifer, and I’m a Spice Girls addict.

        Yes, I thought the Spice Girls: The Movie should’ve won an Oscar. Now that I know you thought the same then that brings the total up to two people that feel the movie was cheated out of their Oscar.

      • Makya McBee says:

        Spice Girl Power! I carried a picture of Sporty Spice in my wallet for over a decade until I somehow lost it last year…so sad…

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