I did a very un-Patriotic thing last night. I made the (apparently) controversial decision to skip the annual 4th of July fireworks ‘extravaganza’. When asked if I was going, I simply stated ‘no’. The verbal volleys afterward crackled with sparks of their own. I had 15 people cajoling me (aka guilt trip) into coming along because my absence would hamper their enjoyment (Facebook posts to the contrary). In the end, I prevailed, and anticipated a quiet evening alone with Hannibal Lecter and his gory grocery list.
Once the house emptied, and the last of the corn cobs and watermelon rinds were discarded, it struck me that no one asked why I didn’t want to go. No one. No. One. There were various reasons I wasn’t interested, and granted, my physical and mental challenges are well-known, so I’m predictable enough that conclusions would be drawn based on those (which, in and of itself feels pretty crappy).
To be fair, I did express that my borderline intolerable nerve pain was searing its way down my body. And that I haven’t had feeling in the fingertips of my left hand since Thursday. And that I can’t get rid of my fingerless gloves of napalm. And that my doctors collaborated to add yet another medication to the shaken-not-stirred-mega-martini-of-hope I faithfully consume.
Adding insult to injury, I dissolved into justifiable tears after dropping a dozen delectable deviled eggs. I sobbed shortly thereafter cutting into my under baked brownies. Perhaps no one noticed that I was curled in a fetal position by the beer cooler murmuring ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’. Still, the unconcealed miasma of depression and defeat swirling around me weren’t really the primary reason.
If anyone had asked, I would have explained that I have tapped into a wellspring of disdain for celebrating events whose victories cost thousands of lives. That I have no desire to jockey for position at the funnel cake stand while realizing that had the teenaged boys in line been born a couple centuries and some change ago, they would likely have been marching into battle with empty bellies and muskets in hand, rather than wiping powdered sugar off their mouths before taking selfies and posting on Instagram.
It’s easy to say we’re celebrating our freedom while the sky is lit with beautiful explosions of color in the sky. It’s not so easy when you picture it coming at the expense of some kid who wasn’t fast enough to dodge explosions on the ground. May be that I’m missing the point of the celebration, but I don’t give a crap.
Hannibal Lecter didn’t win out, by the way. Though I still ended up on the couch, I decided to dig into the Declaration of Independence, to remind myself of how it all started in the first place.
Edit: Pompous, party of one! Reading that last line made me cringe – I did read the Declaration, because I really did need the reminder. Also, this only reflects how I feel – No judgments here!