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Boom! Pow!

We love our cool (dangerous) 'splosions



July 14 is a magical night of lights and a paradise for the U.S. Americans cannot wait to watch the national day fireworks grand show.  —

Ignore the slight inaccuracy as to the exact date of our magical night of lights and paradise. I think has it just about right. Moreover, it expresses, quite poetically, the American obsession with fireworks, despite the annual toll in property damage, lost pets, scorched landscapes, fatalities, hearing loss, blindness and lost limbs.

Indeed, we Americans cannot wait to watch the national day fireworks grand show.

With our national day fireworks grand show approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to bone up on fireworks, and see if I could fathom what it is in the hearts and psyches of my fellow citizens that compels them to risk life and limb to set off fireworks from their front porch, or in neighborhoods where fireworks are prohibited because of fire danger—and the danger is very great this year in particular—from their back patios, neighbors be damned.

As luck would have it, I struck gold on my first Google. I typed “Why do we love fireworks?” into the search window and immediately got all the information that I or anyone else would ever need to have. In fact, with the wizardry of the Internet, not only did I get an immediate answer, I got an answer precisely framed in terms that addressed me personally: “Why do you love fireworks.” Nothing tentative about it, but a hard statement of fact that went straight to the point.

I have decided to share the fruits of my labor with all of you, confident that, armed with knowledge of why you love fireworks, you will more fully enjoy our magical night of lights and paradise. I quote directly from

“Fireworks are some chemicals that are released from earth and exploding in the air. They make a loud explosion.”

Here the author obviously is expressing the huge sensation of release human beings experience as the earth-bound chemicals zoom upward, exploding in air with the immensely satisfying loud explosion. The grand fireworks show enacts the human desire for breaking free of our earthly constraints. It is, as the author might say, a paradise of transcendence.

“Generally it is good to use fireworks at night so you can see the light and a multitude of colors and shapes.”

I think it was Confucius, or perhaps Lady Gaga, who pointed out that it was a sign of genius to state the obvious, and our author here demonstrates his (or her) genius in recommending using fireworks at night. At daytime, you get the bang, but lose the light and multitude of colors and shapes. Of course, since many fireworks users are not geniuses, they get their kicks from loud noises, not colors and shapes.

“The first use of fireworks was in the 7th century China in hopes of scaring away the evil spirits with their bang.”

Nowadays, the bang of fireworks only scares away the family dog, who not only is not an evil spirit, but is, in fact, our spiritual superior. The fact that dogs run and hide during our magical night of boom and smoke is yet another demonstration that they are better critters than we are.

“There have been accidents when people were left blind or deaf as a result of the explosion of fireworks right next to them. Personal injury is a serious thing which is punishable by jail. So do not use fireworks near children or the elderly.”

Here, the wise author makes the sensible point that if you blind yourself as a result of fireworks (or if you blow yourself up or blow off an arm or leg) it’s your own damned fault. But if you maim, burn or kill the children or the elderly, it is a serious thing that is punishable by jail. This is something Utah Gov. Gary Herbert should announce to the nongeniuses who set off their own fireworks (they are frequently the same people who go target shooting in dry brush and start fires that burn up livestock and burn down houses).

“Fireworks can also start fires if they land on combustible material.”

Here our tentative author merely hints at the dire consequences resulting from fireworks landing on combustible material. He is careful to respect the God-given constitutional right of nongeniuses to set off dangerous fireworks wherever they damned well please. He recognizes that it is not a good idea to piss them off.

D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.