I used to like fireworks more when I was a kid. I remember watching them over the Toms River growing up. I remember firing bottle rockets out of my hands on a beach in North Carolina, in a massive firework fight with dozens of other tourist kids (Don’t try this at home).
I still have a soft spot for parking my beach chair and watching from Route 9 or wherever I can get a spot. I also remember walking to the waterfront with my daughter, who was 4 at the time (Don’t try this at home, either).
When I hear them echo near my house at night in the summer, it’s usually part of Berkeley’s summer concert and I smile a little bit.
But when I’m going for a walk at night, and something randomly explodes over my head, that’s where I draw the line.
When I’m doing some gardening just before dusk because that’s the only time it’s not blazingly hot out, and stuff is blowing up all over, that’s not fun.
Every dog in the neighborhood goes nuts. If you’re a firework lover, you’re not an animal lover. Period.
So far this season I think the latest I’ve heard a firework go off is 11:45 p.m.
There’s been the occasional burnt bottle rocket that ends up in my back yard. I have a lot of trees in my back yard, and ivy. So far, I’ve been lucky.
But one of these times, someone isn’t going to be lucky. One of these times, a firework will go off wrong, and really hurt someone. Or land in a gutter full of leaves. Or hit a kid watching from one yard over.
Sure, the average person is doing it right, you might say.
But here’s something else: The average person is an idiot.
When I’m driving, I drive defensively. I don’t assume that someone is going to stop at a stop sign. My foot hovers over my brake, just in case the other driver isn’t paying attention.
We all know how congested this area is. Most of us have homes right on top of each other. Most of us have a neighbor to either side, one behind, and two at the corners. That’s five different places a firecracker can end up if they’re fired off in the wrong way.
I’ll also never understand why people celebrate our nation’s veterans by blowing things up and setting off their PTSD.
Please, leave it to the professionals.