(Originally posted on the website Heron Flight)
Happy Fucking Fourth of July!
I tell you, I just don’t have the type of life for holidays. They just don’t fit. Every time a damn holiday comes around, I am not in any position to deal with it. This time I’m going down in absolute flames I tell you. That’s right. Fitting for a holiday that is damn chock-full of pyro-incendiary-oo-la-las. Watch me cascade in bursting colorful delights downward through the evening sky! Zip-bam-bang-poof! That’s not sulfur stinging your nostrils. That’s me! Burning out before your very eyes.
I mean, damn it! With the wilting heat and broken air conditioning system in my car, I’m a melted Yodel before I even walk into the office these days. Then it just gets hotter inside. The place is a perfect jungle anymore. The savages stalk one another. It’s not uncommon to get a machete in the back. If the betrayal doesn’t get you the quick sand of more-work-than-you-can-realistically-handle will surely sink you down into the “no raise for you next year!” pit from which there is no explanation that can avail to your escape. It’s become barbaric and hideous really. Every day is the “Lord of the Flies” and you’re the fat kid.
But I should forget about all that. It’s a holiday and I don’t have to go back to work yet. Big Corporation is patriotic enough to give us two days off for the Fourth of July. Not that that’s enough for a guy in my position to pull it all together and be ready for this holiday with burgers grilling and blankets all set for the evening fireworks. But they did at least give us two days off. I mean, we should all bow down and kiss their rich bastard asses. But who the hell are “they” anyway? The thousands of stockholders that Big Corporation is technically “owned” by? Wait! I’m one of those stockholders! And I don’t like the way things are going! I call a board meeting! Oh shit! I guess I can’t do that on a holiday! Fuck. Everybody’s out roasting their weenies. Fucking Yankee Doodle Dandies!
Don’t get the wrong impression. I love America. The theory of America is good at least. And I suppose that it is actually better to live here than some other places like, uh, Darfur, or Baghdad, or some other shit hole. But really, America in practice is a far cry from America in theory. Witness all the shit the Bush administration has gotten away with since 9/11. Hell, a warrant is practically a meaningless legal propriety anymore. “You know, I think you’re a terrorist. So, fuck your rights, and fuck the Constitution, and fuck your mother too while we’re at it! You’re an enemy combatant and you’re going to Gitmo, motherfucker!” Oh, come on! That shit doesn’t happen! Does it, Jose Padilla?
Maybe I should just shut my mouth and be a good American. Don’t question authority. This is all for our own good and our safety. Sure, come on in and search my underwear drawer! I’ll be running around in the backyard with sparklers celebrating the birth of this great experiment in freedom called America. No, no, I don’t mind if the New Jersey State Police lie to my learning disabled son and intimidate him into letting them search our home while I’m at work. No, really, I can understand how one of the State Troopers could allow his car to be broken into and his laptop and gun stolen. Really, happens to the best of us. I’ll just go set off some Roman Candles while you fuckers intrude on my privacy. Hey, what’s a traumatized boy compared to matters of state? Why don’t you guys install cameras to monitor what goes on in my house all the time? I’m sure Orwell wouldn’t be surprised. (Yeah, some of this paragraph is based on a true story. Email me and I’ll tell you all about it.)
Wait! Goddamn it! Don’t email me! I’ll tell you about it right now!
In September 2004, while I was at work, the New Jersey State Police came to my house while my learning disabled 20-year-old son was the only one at home. They descended on the place like starving vultures. Not just one or two cops but several car loads of cops suddenly appeared at my residence that afternoon. They presented my son with some shit-ass accusation of stealing a bicycle. Despite his insistence that he didn’t do such a thing, the State Police detectives insisted on coming into our home. They told him that he would be arrested and never see his girlfriend or son again if he didn’t let them in. They refused his request to call his dad before they came in. He has obvious communication deficiencies that are immediately noticeable when one talks to him. But these sharp detectives ignored that. No, they took advantage of that and abused their power in order to wiggle their way into my goddamn home! Can you imagine taking such advantage of a semi-retarded boy? Welcome to America! Have a hot dog! Light off some firecrackers! Set your damn hair on fire!
Where the hell did I start? Oh yeah, holidays don’t usually fit into my life very well. Nothing fits into the life of a single father very well really. Think about it. You have to function at 100 miles per hour 100 hours per day. No easy feat. It’s hard enough to maintain daily home life and field the occasional State Police intrusion let alone incorporate a national holiday. There just isn’t time for it. It just doesn’t fit. And it surely doesn’t mean too goddamn much, now does it? It’s not like there have been great shining incidents of democracy in my experience for which I want to use a day off in reverent worship of the U-S-A. Fuck no! I’m just happy I don’t have to sit in my goddamn cube working for Big Corp. I’d rather take my Yodel ass out into the heat and let it melt in psuedo-patriotism at the local parade while the National Guard tanks roll by and the mayor waves to phony applause and the Girl Scouts think they are trotting along in the wilting humidity because this country is great and everything is baseball and apple pie and we all live happily ever after. God bless America! God help us one and all.
I just can’t fit holidays into my life. They are awkward and unyielding. It’s hard enough to keep the normal day-in and day-out rhythm going. Then a holiday comes along and sets itself up right in the way. I have a hard enough time dealing with my kids’ birthdays for God’s sake. I can’t deal with holidays and their cookouts and get-togethers and driving here and there and everywhere. I always get stuck behind that one damn bastard who drives 10 miles per hour below the speed limit as he relishes the damn holiday and soaks in all the holidayness as he’s putzing along to Aunt Erma’s annual Independence Day shindig. I don’t have the patience or the patriotism for that. Just get out of my way, leave all the holiday nonsense alone and let’s have a normal day. Let’s just be normal and calm and pressure-free. You don’t pressure me. I won’t pressure you. Don’t worry about wearing the right colors and bringing the right food. Just relax.
Ah, who am I kidding? I gotta get going. The kids need red, white, and blue clothes. And the parade is at 1:00. And the shitty fair is waiting to gobble up my money so the kids can go on the rides. There is no resistance to it. The holiday always wins. I guess I better conform. Isn’t that what patriotism is in America these days? I’ll give in, sit through the parade. Hopefully my attitude will improve through the day.