With July 4th just around the corner, I got to thinking about fireworks. When I was a kid, if someone had told me that a time would come when I wouldn’t want to shoot my own fireworks, I would have thought they were delusional (actually, I would have thought they were nuts because I didn’t know what delusional meant when I was a kid).
It was a big deal, second only to Christmas, to go down to Jerry Wald's fireworks operation located under the Broadway bridge near downtown KC with my Dad. Then, when we got home, I would scurry to my room to line up all the bootie in neat rows. The tallest ones at the back. That pile of stuff was so pretty you almost didn’t want to shoot them off. Half the fun was LOOKING at all that stuff.
As the years passed, the excitement of blowing up your own toys, fingers feeling like dead sausages for 20 minutes after holding on to a Black Cat too long before throwing it, writing your name in the air with a sparkler, and then stepping on one with your bare feet that some nitwit threw on the ground, wondering why you chose the army tanks that went pfffft and then moved a whole 7 inches, sitting there with a dumb look on your face watching a smoke bomb burn itself out, wishing you had gotten more pop rocks to throw at people, wondering why the kid across the street went into seizures whenever someone would light a strobe, and pondering which of your pile of mayhem you would choose for the Grand Finale of your own personal fireworks show, all began to fade.
For me, the joy of fireworks ultimately fizzled out as soon as I had to start buying them. Don’t get me wrong; I bought them. Lots of them. You see, I have three sons, and there is no way I was going to deny them the opportunity to blow off a finger, lose an eye or set a neighbor's house on fire. I mean, I love my kids.
Now I’m in the July 4th sweet spot. My kids are grown and have kids of their own. Now they buy the fireworks and oversee the explosives. All I need now to enjoy Independence day is a lawn chair.
TJ Nigro - June 2022