When I was growing up, Independence Day was more eagerly anticipated than Christmas. The Green kids didn’t just buy fireworks—we were skilled in the art of getting the most bang for the five bucks we had hastily stuffed in the pockets of our corduroy Ocean Pacific shorts.
Still learning to read, we’d walk into fireworks tents and religiously study the poorly translated product descriptions. We’d do multiple circles. We’d compare prices among competitors and only hand over our allowance to the cheapest guy in town.
While our criteria was fairly complex, we usually made our final decisions based on a couple of key factors:
> Potential to blow the doors off of toy cars
> Potential to blow the legs off of action figures
> Potential to completely destroy entire ant colonie
This year, I tried to get my fix here in Chicago by watching various “public” shows, but being a spectator offered little in the way of satisfaction. I considered buying some of the so-called fireworks they were selling at the grocery store, but was sorely disappointed when I picked up a package of TNT brand “Pop-Its” and scanned the box. In bold letters, it read “Fun trick noise maker.” Assuming a “Fun trick noise maker” couldn’t do much damage to an action figure, model car or anthill, I put the box back on the shelf and quickly came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to have anything to do with any explosions this year.