Sunday, July 5, 2009

Safe, sane, ... and boring!

Yesterday was the 4th of July but it coincided here in Norman with thunderstorms (natural fireworks?), so the formal festivities (the official fireworks display) set for after sunset had to be postponed until tonight. In the post-frontal cool of the night this evening, after a very enjoyable early evening spent with friends, we watched the distant "official" Norman fireworks display from our own deck.

In the process, some local neighborhood patriots were motivated to set off some interesting fireworks of their own. Vickie and I were disinclined to call the Norman gendarmes. Our neighbors who set off these fireworks undoubtedly had spent some $$ on their enthusiastic celebration. Why should we be the wet blankets?

But this got me thinking - yes, fireworks are dangerous and may even (in extreme cases) be life-threatening. Vickie and I both reminisced about days long gone, when private citizens could have their own fireworks in their own backyards on the 4th of July. We recalled parents and grandparents who really loved to set off their own fireworks and nothing awful had ever happened.

Yes, we are safer and saner than in those wild and crazy days when private citizens could celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks in their yards. No doubt many unsafe things have become seriously illegal today. But Vickie and I chose not to call the cops on those daring neighbors of ours who apparently thumbed their noses at all the pious bullshit about safety and sanity. We didn't mind a bit. In fact, we enjoyed their rockets with stars and Roman candles! I think we were a little jealous that we weren't so daring as our unknown neighbors seemed to be. I was very nostalgic about what my Dad used to do with fireworks in our backyard.

Safety and sanity are fine - in their proper place. But the world we now live in is rather substantially less interesting than those ancient days when private citizens could buy and use fireworks without fear of having them confiscated or being arrested for celebrating the 4th of July in their own personal way. Safer than those days? No question. However ...

Norman has a great fireworks display every year, but wouldn't it be just a bit more fun if we could actually do something that wasn't entirely safe and sane to celebrate this holiday? Must everything in our society be reduced to safety and sanity? Can't we ever be just a little bit crazy?