Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Up in Smoke

Okay . . . so I understand that July 4th is our nation's biggest holiday because it is the anniversary of our independence. I get the fanatical colors and parades and bbqs and all the other festivities that take place, because we are just expressing our joy for no longer being a part of jolly ol' England. But what I don't fully understand is the massive amounts of money that people dump into fireworks each year.

Especially when you live somewhere like here in Vancouver, where we annually have the largest fireworks show West of the Mississippi River. 40-ish minutes of choreographed fireworks, set to patriotic music after an entire day of festivial activities. It is something I look forward to in one part or another each year, whether I watch the fireworks at home on tv or on the riverfront or on a blanket in the park. We have this amazing display that is put on for us each year, and yet for the two weeks leading up to the 4th, nearly every single open corner of a parking lot in Vancouver has a makeshift tent peddling out thousands of dollars of fireworks.

I don't want to knock it too much, because there definitely was summer in high school where the cheerleading squad earned money for our new uniforms by working one of those stands and it was a lot of fun. My brother used to work for one of the tent companies, setting up and keeping those stands stocked, sometimes putting in 16 to 18 hour days, but also making enough money in those two and a half to three weeks that he did not have to work his entire schoolyear and was still able to keep up on his car insurance and gas and other necessities.

But why do people spend so much money on fireworks? They literally are just burning money for a few seconds of pretty lights. My parents would occasionally buy a few, but I guarantee you they have never spent over $100 dollars collectively on all the little firecrackers and sparklers they got us as kids. My brother-in-law and his family buy one of those huge packs each year and while it was a bit of fun last year to just set off fireworks with them, I still kind of shake my head in disbelief.

I know that people have the right to spend their money however they choose - whether it be on fireworks or expensive accessories or concert tickets or drugs or exotic vacations. I just kind of cringe every time I hear a neighbor set off a pre-holiday firework.

Especially at 5:45 am. Seriously . . . I know we should let freedom ring, but before 7 am??? Come on!

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