When you live in a state where personal fireworks are illegal, traveling through states where they are legal can be painful, especially when you have a mild obsession with fireworks. Most males I know develop an obsession with fireworks around the age of 7. Your uncle shows up with a brown bag full of them at a barbecue, hands them out to you and your cousins, and that is when the obsession starts. The ruby red firecracker wrappers and bottle rocket sticks, the fantastic 4 color illustrations on the wrappers, the smell of gunpowder, and even the crinkle of firecracker wrapper paper are an enchanting prelude to the glorious sounds and lights contained within each firework. Then you light the fuse and scramble to a safe distance, and then WHOOOOSHHHH, BOOOOOOM or CRACK CRACK POP CRACK BOOM CRACK CRAACK POP BOOOOOM begins. Each firework is an exquisitely wrapped gift with the present of LIGHT, SOUND, and DANGER waiting inside. Even the red, white and blue confetti of discharged firecrackers are in their own small way, amazing.
Of course, there are those not enchanted by DANGER, the folks who will project their own fears upon you, and tell you that you’ll blow your fingers off or set the roof on fire. So you end up with a state where personal fireworks are illegal. Cowards. Ben Franklin said, “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” Well, perhaps those who sacrifice firecrackers for 10 working fingers deserve neither… or maybe they just need to lighten up.
Every Phantom Fireworks I pass is a reminder of where I live and what I desire.
On this Independence Day, here’s to the States where you can still purchase and detonate even the smallest of fireworks.
Don’t worry too much about me — I still get to see some of the professional fireworks. I saw these across the street from my apartment a few years ago.