Sunday 11 Dec 2016

Kaboom
Jennifer Flaten

Well, we survived another Fourth of July without some fun loving neighbor blowing his house and by extension my house up with his “amazing” fireworks display.

You know that neighbor we all have one. This fellow, it’s always a man, don’t ask me why it just is, can’t be trusted to run a weed whacker without causing large-scale damage. By day, he has some sort of career involving a desk and lots of shuffling of paper work and on weekends, he is always puttering around doing something.

It is guaranteed that this something is dangerous and involves the off label use of his power tools. How does this fellow get access to such power tools? Based on his previous history, why not band him from owning anything more dangerous than a screwdriver.

Yet, on a Saturday morning, you can hear him firing up his “modified” wood splitter or some other Frankentool to take care of some real or usually imagined problem in his yard.  

Normally, he is only a danger to himself, but when the Fourth of July rolls around the whole neighborhood is in danger as he suddenly morphs into a pyrotechnics expert.

Actually, around the Fourth of July many people have delusions of fireworks grandeur. Just take a look at any of the men-again, mostly men- examining the merchandise at one of those pop up fireworks tents that set up shop in the Wal-Mart parking lot prior to the holiday.

After they spend five minutes talking the fireworks sales person they think they are ready to run Def Leppard style pyrotechnics on their next tour. Full disclosure I did visit the fireworks tent on the Fourth of July, only because I wanted sparklers for the kids.

I didn’t leave with anything more exciting than a bag of smoke bombs.

I went to the fireworks tent for sparklers only because I couldn’t find them anywhere else. In true sadistic retail fashion, the stores have had them sparklers on display since Easter. I, being the procrastinator that I am, didn’t want to buy them until closer to the fourth.

When will I learn? I went looking for them on the fourth only to find that the display of sparklers, snakes and other flammable fun designed for children was gone. The patriotic display replaced by one for Halloween candy.

Back to my experience under the fireworks tent usually, when you are shopping you can’t find a sales person to help you unless you stand in the middle of the store waving a wad of cash around, not so at the fireworks tent.

At the fireworks tent they can’t wait to sell you all manner of highly dangerous items that could blow you to bits. The sales person escorted me around the tent, pointing out various firework combinations and trying desperately to upgrade me from my lowly sparklers to something more dramatic.

I am not sure, was he that helpful to all his customers or if I looked like someone who might stick a box of shooting stars into their purse. He even walked me through the three different styles of sparklers, explaining which ones were safer for kids.

Let’s face it, a sparkler is a stick that shoots fire out the end of it, there really isn’t anyway to make that “safer.” Of course, that didn’t stop me from purchasing them. What can I say; the kids love them, besides I was on stand-by with an industrial sized fire extinguisher while they played with them.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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