I tell you, I just donít have the type of life for holidays. They just donít fit. Every time a damn holiday comes around, I am not in any position to deal with it. This time Iím going down in absolute flames I tell you. Thatís 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! Thatís not sulfur stinging your nostrils. Thatís me! Burning out before your very eyes.
I mean, damn it! With the wilting heat and broken air conditioning system in my car, Iím 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. Itís not uncommon to get a machete in the back. If the betrayal doesnít get you the quick sand of more-work-than-you-can-realistically-handle will surely sink you down into the ďno raise for you next year!Ē pit from which there is no explanation that can avail to your escape. Itís become barbaric and hideous really. Every day is the ďLord of the FliesĒ and youíre the fat kid.
But I should forget about all that. Itís a holiday and I donít have to go back work yet. Big Corporation is patriotic enough to give us two days off for the Fourth of July. Not that thatís 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 ďtheyĒ anyway? The thousands of stockholders that Big Corporation is technically ďownedĒ by? Wait! Iím one of those stockholders! And I donít like the way things are going! I call a board meeting! Oh shit! I guess I canít do that on a holiday! Fuck. Everybodyís out roasting their weenies. Fucking Yankee Doodle Dandies!
Donít 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. ďYou know, I think youíre a terrorist. So, fuck your rights, and fuck the Constitution, and fuck your mother too while weíre at it! Youíre an enemy combatant and youíre going to Gitmo, motherfucker!Ē Oh, come on! That shit doesnít happen! Does it, Jose Padilla?
Maybe I should just shut my mouth and be a good American. Donít question authority. This is all for our own good and our safety. Sure, come on in and search my underwear drawer! Iíll be running around in the backyard with sparklers celebrating the birth of this great experiment in freedom called America. No, no, I donít mind if the New Jersey State Police lie to my learning disabled son and intimidate him into letting them search our home while Iím 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. Iíll just go set off some Roman Candles while you fuckers intrude on my privacy. Hey, whatís a traumatized boy compared to matters of state? Why donít you guys install cameras to monitor what goes on in my house all the time? Iím sure Orwell wouldnít be surprised. (Yeah, some of this paragraph is based on a true story. Email me and Iíll tell you all about it.)
Wait! Goddamn it! Donít email me! Iíll 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 didnít 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 didnít 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 donít 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. Itís hard enough to maintain daily home life and field the occasional State Police intrusion let alone incorporate a national holiday. There just isnít time for it. It just doesnít fit. And it surely doesnít mean too goddamn much, now does it? Itís 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! Iím just happy I donít have to sit in my goddamn cube working for Big Corp. Iíd 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 canít fit holidays into my life. They are awkward and unyielding. Itís 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 kidsí birthdays for Godís sake. I canít 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 heís putzing along to Aunt Ermaís annual Independence Day shindig. I donít have the patience or the patriotism for that. Just get out of my way, leave all the holiday nonsense alone and letís have a normal day. Letís just be normal and calm and pressure-free. You donít pressure me. I wonít pressure you. Donít 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. Isnít that what patriotism is in America these days? Iíll give in, sit through the parade. Hopefully my attitude will improve through the day.