by Patrick Dykie

     I would like to wish you all a happy Fourth of Ju….. “Boom, boom, boom boom!” What the heck. Oh, I guess it’s started already. I have a question. Why does everyone love fireworks so much? Light one firework, watch it blaze into the atmosphere, and have it explode into a massive ball of multicolored smoke accompanied by a concussive force that rattles windows ten miles away, and what happens? You’re right; thousands of people will gather in large groups to stare into the darkened sky as if hypnotized by the spectacle. The only sounds besides the explosive sound of pyrotechnics will be a cacophony of oohs and aahs, from the mesmerized crowds.

     I hate to be a party pooper, but I think I’m one of the few lonely souls who are bothered by fireworks. I spend every Fourth of July huddled in my house like an animal with the television turned up, all the windows closed, the air-conditioning running full blast, and a frosty cold beer in my hand in the hopes of muffling the noise, and dulling the pain. Even then I cringe as each blast rattles my windows, and shakes the very foundation of my humble abode. I usually wake up the next morning with the acrid smell of gunpowder permeating my yard, black burn marks on the roadway out front, and used bottle rockets on my back deck or up on my roof.

        A few weeks ago, I noticed all those roadside stands popping up. It seems that every corner has a brightly covered tent filled with an incredible assortment of every firework known to man. I saw a kid leaving with his dad with his arms loaded with fireworks. I wanted to say,

“Hey dad; I hope you have 911 on speed-dial, and directions to the nearest hospital emergency room.”

     Even animals are smart enough to run from fireworks. How many of you right now have your dogs and cats hiding somewhere in your house shivering in fear. My dog, Chase is a huge, powerful and fearless canine in the prime of his life. He has been known to face down grizzly bears, and run into the surf at the beach to chase off killer whales, but all it takes is one boom from a single fireworks and he’s like a scared puppy huddled in a darkened corner.

     I looked up fireworks in the dictionary, and it said they are explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes which involve noise, light, smoke, or floating materials. Entertainment? 

“Hey honey; what do you say we skip dinner and that silly Broadway show. Let’s buy some fireworks, light them, and then run around our yard, laughing and screaming with our hands covering our ears.”


     Do you know that the Chinese invented fireworks in the seventh century as a means to scare away evil spirits? It’s true, and guess what? It works! My mother-in-law just showed up, and I rolled a big, fat firework down the driveway, and ran inside. The smoke just cleared, and her car is gone. I may have to hit the fireworks stand and stock up. I didn’t know it was the Chinese who invented fireworks.

      I actually thought it was pirates. It makes perfect sense. Notice how many of them have a peg leg, a hook replacing one of their hands, and a big black eye patch. I just figured that pirates invented fireworks, but were extremely careless.

“Rrrrrrrrrr matey, could yur hand me that there huge and powerful pyrotechnic device. No, it’s okay if you light it matey. Just make sure this time that the fuse is more than two inches long. Me left eye be still smarting from the last time. Rrrrrrrrrr.”


     Why do we even mess with fireworks? We should let the experts deal with them. I know a lot of guys who love playing with fireworks. They also have some cool nicknames. There’s lefty, fingerless Joe, and my old college buddy, one-eyed Jack. I don’t think most people realize how dangerous fireworks can be. We all just head to those roadside stands and buy whatever our kids point at. Do fireworks even have directions? Does each one say,

“Light very short fuse with match, and run like the devil himself is nipping at your butt?”

     How about those sparklers that all the kids love? All of us can remember some of those special, wonderful and magical fourth of July parties from our childhood. Sparklers were always an integral part of the celebration, as well as a cherished family tradition.  Remember how mom would spray your entire body with about a gallon of a foul-smelling, alcohol based, and most likely flammable bug spray to fend off mosquitoes. You would also be covered with some of Uncles Phil’s gin and tonic as he drunkenly pushed past you for another. Your dad would then light and hand you a sparkler.

      You, along with all the other children would then run as fast as you could in big circles while waving your long pieces of charcoal, sulfur, aluminum, and potassium nitrate encrusted metal. Those fiery sticks burned with a brightness, intensity, and searing heat greater than the fusion induced temperature of the sun. The amazing thing which I have never been able to explain is how all of us survived to adulthood without becoming flaming, backyard torches. I guess some mysteries were never meant to be explained. 

      Before I go, I want to wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July. Now, all I have to do is find that darn dog, my missing ear plugs, and that six-pack of beer I bought yesterday. I have a feeling that all of them are in the basement behind the furnace.


12 Comments to “FIREWORKS!”

  1. WOW!!! I thought I was the only one on the Earth that didn’t like Fireworks!!! Too funny. The people at my job were making fun of me because of it and I sighed thinking that I should have a party pooper hat on! Sorry you are stuck in my category! Great post and happy 4th! After I post everyday… I read The Dark Globe! Take care, Emily Guido

  2. Always love your essays and your unique peek at the world, Patrick. My dog is another one that doesn’t appreciate all those rockets doing their red glaring thing. Neither do I. The colors are pretty but the noise always startles me. And I was just talking about the stuff coming off the grill! 😉

  3. The best Fireworks are the ones you see in the distance (as in 4-5 miles away) . . . they are then near magical. Lights appearing in the sky, but no associated noise.

    . . . and you would love it here right now . . . fireworks have been banned across the state because of the extreme dry condition and the dangers of wildfires (they are still battling the big fire near us).

    I expect even the neighborhood idiots might think twice before lighting them up (lives and homes have been lost in this recent fire), but then idiots have a way of surprising me.

    We tend not to travel during the week surrounding the 4th . . . ever since the mid 80s when an evergreen shrub burst on fire from a stray bottle rocket. It was right up against the house, and had we not been home it would have likely burned the house.

  4. I’m a sucker for fireworks, not that I haven’t seen it go wrong a time or two! My sister once backfired a Roman candle into her chest, right after my dad gave us the big “HOLD IT TO THE SIDE” lecture. Different sister actually takes her boys to a “fireworks war” at a relatives house where they use those same Roman candles as baseballs in some crazy game of bat the fire… Insane amount of fun to all who go, at least until the 3rd degree burn arrive!

  5. Very nicely written for this great holiday.
    Happy 4th of July.

  6. Thanks Emily. The bad thing about fireworks is that people never run out of them. My neighbors will be shooting them off for the next six months. I’ll be singing Christmas carols, and they’ll be whizzing by.

  7. Thanks Lorna for commenting. Do you have a grill like me with the old-fashioned charcol, and lighter fluid?

  8. Glad to hear from you again Disperser. Are you from Colorado? I hear that in all the western states its dry. Keep safe and have a happy fourth.

  9. Hi Tiffany. Fireworks can be scary. A few years ago my brother put on a display, and one rocket went awry, and almost took out three or four people of my aunts.

  10. Thank you Isadora. If you want some more stuff on this special day, I’m working on a fourth of July post for my own site. It should be done in a few hours. Probably by 2 or 3 EST. Stop over at “Simple Observations” and take a look. Have a wonderful holiday.

  11. Wow, that is so intense it almost looks like a tornado. Great pictures. I hope things improve. Take care.

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