Happy birthday, America!

To celebrate the fourth, I went to a barbecue at the home of my friend L. There were just four of us, chowing on burgers, drinking lemonade with a little something something in it, and listening to various stories about L.’s relatives blowing shit up.

Now, I grew up in Iowa. Fireworks were (are?) illegal in the great Hawkeye State. There were always folks who drove to Missouri to stock up on bottle rockets and grain alcohol (couldn’t get that, either). But I did not come from an illegal fireworks sort of people. Therefore, fireworks make me nervous. I like organized shows, but would never think to buy fireworks to set off myself and hopefully not set my neighbor’s house on fire.

In my fair city, it’s illegal to shoot off fireworks. So, of course, everyone up and down L.’s street was setting off all variety of explosives. I enjoyed watching the little kid across the street dance and do cartwheels every time he set off a firework. He was so ecstatic that he literally could not hold still. Right on.

L. and our other two friends proceeded to work their way through two big boxes of fireworks in the street while I sat on the porch, feeling rather … middle-aged. They deemed the bottle rockets boring unless tied together in bunches of three – and even then, they were a bit of a disappointment. The smokebomb thingy? Lame. As these three women discussed the specifics about how they were going to set off a 1/3 stick of dynamite, I realized that I was amongst a bunch of lesbian pyros. I was straight in more ways than one.

Down the street, a colorful cacophony of fireworks went off, and L. proclaimed, “You see? Those are those balls! Balls are the best! Next year, we need to just spend a couple hundred bucks on balls!”

“Totally. It’s all about the balls,” one of the other pyros agreed. “They are so great!”

The third woman conceded. “Yeah, I’ll give you that. Who knew that balls were so important?”

At this point, I raised my hand.

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