Monday, July 16, 2012

Explosions in The American Sky

It is a few days after July Fourth but we’re celebrating and I’m lighting fireworks with clown makeup on. A fellow partygoer asks me to hold two sparklers while he takes my photo. I oblige him.

            “Sorry, but this photo is too creepy to pass up,” he says, apologizing for interrupting my important task of setting off fireworks.

            My clown makeup is creepy; it is that of Pogo the Clown, which is the clown character that serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Wearing face paint at these events is a two-year tradition for me (last year I was painted as Gene Simmons of KISS) at my friend’s Fourth of July Party, which is a tradition going back much farther.

            Steve Quilliam is the party host. He turned his one bedroom house into a three bedroom house, built the patio that now serves as a central party area, and showed me the ins and outs of hunting. He’s an intelligent man who can work with his hands, thinks things through logically and doesn’t need church. He’s the kind of man America needs more of but is killing off as quickly as it can. I won’t miss his Fourth of July party.

            More recently, a few of us have formed Premature Strangulation, a cover band with punk and heavy metal aspirations. If only we could stop some of the members from wanting to play Bon Jovi covers, we could make progress.

            Fireworks have been a party tradition since we were all in high school, drunkenly lighting them off in Steve’s mother’s back yard. Another friend, who lives farther south than the rest of us, has access to REAL fireworks, the stuff not legal in these parts. He and a few others are getting ready to set those off, but first it’s my display of the local, legal stuff that is still interesting.

            Every year I try to make a trip to Uncle Guido’s Fireworks and stock up on legal fireworks that I think will explode nicely. This year is no exception and a few other partygoers have brought some store-bought legal stuff that they pile in with mine.

            A few people join me so that we can set off multiple fireworks at once. People oooh and aaah when the fireworks are pretty and heckle us when they don’t live up to expectations. We soldier on. I take mental notes of what fireworks are the best and will try to remember that next year.

Some of us were meant to be that creepy clown setting off explosives in front of children. I embrace that role whole-heartedly. 

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