Happy Fourth of July. Before you do your part and blow up a small portion of the country you love, travel back in time to the magical summer of 2008 with Drew's guide to the best and worst aspects of July 4th.
All elements of the holiday are evaluated for sheer awesomeness on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Air Conditioning: I have two women in my life – my wife and my mother – who have an inexplicable aversion to air conditioning. My wife hates turning on the AC in the car or in the house at night. She says, "Let's do windows!" Then she opens the windows and turns the AC off. "See, isn't this fresh air nice?" Meanwhile, all my major organs are shutting down, I've turned our Sealy Posturepedic into a makeshift waterbed, and I'm experiencing the third stage of heat stroke. Hey lady, it's five million fucking degrees out there. CRANK THAT SHIT. We're not on a fucking NOLS trip, okay? This is fucking CIVILIZATION.
I love AC so much, I put it on in my car in the goddamn winter. I wish I could surgically implant a Frederick air conditioner inside my body. I worked as a busboy and table runner for six summers (I was never competent enough to make waiter. The one time they let me wait a table, I put a lemon wedge in a dude's iced coffee. He complained. Fuck that asshole.) Every restaurant I worked at had a walk-in fridge. I could stand inside a walk-in fridge for weeks. God, it's heaven.
Yes, I know that it kills seven polar bears just to keep your AC on for an hour. But, left off, I produce enough sweat to drown any major lowland areas and tidal basins. So it's really a lose-lose option for Mother Earth. And I'm not gonna let something as trivial as the future of Earth's fragile ecosystems get in the way of my passion for cool air blasting out of small vents. Ever escape into a department store on a 100-degree day? When that air con hits you, Jesus. What relief. Like taking a nice, cool shit.
Fireworks At Home: "Let me have one of those porno magazines, large box of condoms, a bottle of Old Harper, a couple of those panty shields, and some illegal fireworks, and one of those disposable enemas ... eh, make it two."
Nothing beats getting ass shitfaced, then setting off a couple Roman candles, a couple fountains, and one of those bitchin' cone things that starts off kinda weak, then goes fucking apeshit after a few seconds. It's especially fun to let the kids light the wick. You get to experience the wonder in their eyes. Also, if the Chinese manufacturer did a shoddy job of constructing the explosive, the kid acts as a buffer between you and the blast. I like the ones that whistle. That lets you know it's blowin' up.
I love all home fireworks. Except for sparklers. Those are gay. Speaking of fireworks, no Independence Day is complete without…
Vandalism: Can't go wrong with lighting an entire pack of Black Cats, stuffing them in some asshole's mailbox, and then running for your goddamn life. The adrenaline rush is just intoxicating.
S'Mores: There isn't a worse marshmallow toaster on the planet than yours truly. I try and keep rotating that shit so I get it all nice and golden brown all around. But, inevitably, the fucker starts to droop off the stick, then I gotta rotate it faster just to keep it from hanging down. Then it catches fire. Then I blow on the shit to get the fire out. Then it lands right on the fucking Kingsford. Then I got a s'more that's partially tainted with chicken drippings. Shit. But I'd still eat 500 of them if I could. Oh s'more, with your crunchy cracker outside and your creamy chocolate/marshmallow filling, you are textural delight like no other.
Crab Chips: They put Old Bay on everything here in Maryland: crabs, fries, chips, Congressional pages. It's delicious. I particularly enjoy down the crab dust at the bottom of every bag. The secret ingredient is sodium!
The United States Of America: FUCK YEAH!
Ice Cream: You didn't get none, you didn't get none… CAUSE YOU ARE ON THE WEEEELFARE. And can't afford it… HE CAN'T AFFORD IT… HE CAN'T AFFORD IT… HE CAN'T AFFORD IT… And his father is an alcohooooolic…
Two flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip, or Coconut ice cream drenched in hot fudge sauce. Either way, I'm a happy kid.
Drinking On the Beach/Drunken Ocean Swimming: You got yourself a beach chair, a freezing-as-shit Budweiser crammed into a beer cozy, and a can of Cheez Balls, you got yourself some fine living. I, for one, enjoy downing a six-pack and then wading out into the vicious undertow. There's nothing more peaceful than having wave after wave pound your drunken ass. It makes me feel complete. Sometimes the sun hits the surface of the water in a certain way, and the whole ocean looks like it's covered in gold leaf. And I could just stare at that for hours. Or until I need a refill.
I also enjoy filling any giant Igloo thermos with booze and some sort of mixer. If I ever get rich one day (dick jokes are recession-proof AND outsourcing-proof!), I'm buying a big fucking beach house and doing that shit every damn day.
Lobster: Having a special family feast this Fourth of July? Pick up some lobsters. You can race them. Then you can drop them into a steaming cauldron of death. Serve with drawn butter, lemon, and an assload of fries and onion rings. Killing has never been so delicious. I eat every part of the lobster. I dig through the body cavity and scarf down any stray piece of meat I can find. I even eat the green shit inside. I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to eat that. It may contain harmful bacteria. But still, it's goddamn delicious. I smell like a steamed lobster for seven weeks afterward. That bib they give you? It does nothing.
Oyster Shots: Alcohol AND brine? Sign my ass up.
Chili Dogs: I know everyone does hot dogs a different way. Some people like mustard on top of it. Or relish. Or a Cobb salad. Me, I like the fucker drenched in chili. Whoever thought up the idea of meat as a condiment for meat, I salute you. Should chili be unavailable, I put enough ketchup on my hot dog to stage a fight scene in a Cronenberg film. Fucking love ketchup.
The Hold Steady On Your Summer Playlist: Whoa WHOA whoa! Whoa WHOA whoa! Whoa WHOA whoa! We gotta stay positive!
/jumps up and down
Wiffle Ball: All day long, people. All day long.
Grilling By A Pool: I spent one Fourth at a friend's house where they had a pool and one of those industrial Weber model supergrills. We spent 12 hours grilling sausages, drinking beer, and jumping in the pool whenever it got too hot. The pool also had a basketball hoop, which meant: POOL HORSE! YEEEAAARRGHHHH!!! That was a good day.
Keggers At Your Friend's Parents' Beach House: Went to Cape Cod one Fourth of July when I was in college. It rained all weekend. I slept under a coffee table. I ate nothing but Pringles. I threw up in the sink. Delightful.
The 1812 Overture: If you're any sort of real municipality, your fireworks display better be choreographed to this piece of music. AND USE REAL CANNON FIRE, YOU FUCKERS. It's well worth my tax money. What else are you gonna spend my money on? SCHOOLS? Pfft. School is gay. Everyone knows that.
Reading: There's nothing on TV. There's no work to do. No one's on the Internet. Football isn't on again in fucking forever. Time to curl up and knock a good book off your list. My summer book? "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Nothing appeals to my imagination quite like a drawing of a cupcake.
Weddings: Hey, are you holding your wedding this weekend? YOU SUCK. What, you think the rest of us don't have plans of our own for a holiday weekend? Instead we gotta trudge out to your dopey reception? WE BETTER GET SOME DECENT PASSED HORS DOUVRES OUT OF THIS, YOU FUCKERS.
Baseball: I normally find baseball dull. But I never miss a chance to head to the ballpark over the holiday and get drunk for three hours. Your baseball options this weekend include… what's this? Red Sox-Yankees? Wow, that's amazing! It's almost as if they scheduled it that way on purpose! Oh, and there's also Brewers-Pirates. What a fierce rivalry that is!
Hearing A Fireworks Display And Not Knowing Where The Fuck It's Coming From: What's that thumping sound? Oh shit, STUFF IS BLOWING UP AND I CAN'T SEE IT! Wait, wait, wait! I see it! If you just stand on this patio chair and look right between those two huge trees, you'll see just a sliver of a starburst. MAGIC!
Cherries: I love cherries. But you ever eat more than handful without considering the ramifications it will have on your digestive system? BIG mistake. I eat a bowlful, and ten minutes later my asshole is reenacting the cherry scene from "The Witches Of Eastwick".
Timeshares: I don't give a fuck if you paid for a full share, asshole. I'm getting a bed.
Applying Sunscreen: The one thing they never tell you about sunscreen is, the higher the SPF factor, the more apt it is to sting like a fucking bitch when you put it on. Ever put SPF 45 on your forehead, only to have it mix with your sweat and drip down into your eyes? Agony.
Checking Out A Hot Chick On The Beach Only To Realize She May Be Fourteen
Going To Town Fireworks Displays: I fucking hate this. You can never find a place to park. You can never find a decent spot to put your blanket down. You can never find a decent position to sit on the blanket without wrenching every vertebrae out of place. The bugs destroy you. The fireworks take forever to start. And, once they do, you can never figure out when they're finished. Well kids, looks like it's all over. OH WAIT! Now they're blowing up all kinds of shit! Well, THAT must have been the finale, so let's beat traf… SHIT! PICK AN ENDING, MAYOR!
Will Smith Movies: Hey, he's Mr. Fourth of July. Surely you remember his work in such stellar 4th of July films as "I, Robot," "Bad Boys II," (Not 2. II. It's a trilogy, you see.) "Men In Black 2," and… Jesus, those are some bad fucking movies. Such is the power of Will Smith's charisma. He can get you to see horrible, horrible movies that you forget AS you're watching them. Know what else? He can also TURN YOU GAY.
The Hot Dog Eating Contest: No wafer thin mint at the end?
Fucking Driving ANYWHERE
Working: Working this weekend? I'm sorry. That blows. I've worked my fair share of July 4ths. Nothing beats serving obnoxious customers while wearing a white dress shirt you've already sweat through seven times, black slacks, and black shoes caked in detritus from the kitchen floor. Tip your waiter generously this weekend, folks. They hate you enough as is.
Sunburn: Hey, what's that smell? Oh, it's just the tops of my feet.
Bugs: I always forget about the bug factor anywhere I go. It never occurs to me that there are swarms of bloodsucking malaria couriers lying in wait to feast upon my ample flesh. By the time I realize what's going on ("Hey, are you getting bitten? Cause I think it's getting kind of buggy and FUCK!!!"), it's too late. I'm bumpier than a goddamn Rice Krispie Treat. I also lack the ability to apply bug spray without somehow getting it in my mouth. Tastes like licking a car battery. Fun!
I'd also like to extend this message to the citronella candle industry: FUCK YOU. Your candles and tiki torches do nothing.
There's your Fourth of July breakdown. Enjoy the holiday, everyone.
Story originally published on July 2, 2008