As much as I enjoy the summer, even the abbreviated Washington version, this is one of those annoying times for us curmudgeons when fools come out of the woodwork with fists full of sparklers. To the insane bang junkies who giggle at loud noises, I urge you to let people handle the fireworks who have more training than your crazy uncle gave you.
Its hard to wrap your mind around, but in our Weekend Pass article in this issue, we share FMWR estimates that staffers are preparing for as many as 30,000 people at Freedom Fest 2014.
The word is out about the value of JBLMs annual celebrations of Independence Day. Family fun, music and entertainment, capped by a safe and professional fireworks display. But its not those 30,000 folks who will annoy me. Its my neighbors scholars who have been budgeting for six months to amass enough M-80s, salutes and bottle rockets to blast a Grand-Canyon-sized hole in the planet.
You know the ones: theyve already started, terrorizing the pets with experimental explosive concoctions detonated at midnight. Theyll be ready for July 4 if it takes keeping their neighbors awake for a week.
Some exercise safety precautions, but for every careful celebrant, another gladly takes on the challenge to blast a new drainage ditch through his ornamental beds with his own supercharged medicine ball-sized package of dynamite-light.
My best friends, the Peiffer twins, made an annual fuss about fireworks until the year their dad, Lloyd, blew off three fingers weaving multiple fuses together. They burned at an astonishing and unexpected rate making a lasting impression on us.
I now do a cost-benefit analysis: Lets see, big fun setting fire to things that pop and sparkle while onlookers guffaw like mental patients versus intense pain, an ER visit, medical bills and a prosthesis that I didnt earn in battle. You get bozo- rather than hero status for injuries sustained while choosing to carelessly handle volatile, unregulated explosives from distant lands.
So I invite you to join me at Freedom Fest next Friday and let the professionals handle the show. Youre also welcome to join me in my condescension at those who risk body parts for a fleeting thrill.