Ahh, summertime! Watermelon, cherries, peaches, apricots, diarrhea. Long days at the lake, backyard grilling. And of course, the 4th of July-the only holiday to break up summer monotony between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here are three things I’ve tried and recommend to you to enrich your July 4th experience.

1. Read the Declaration of Independence. In it, Thomas Jefferson lays out for all the world to see the colonists’ gripes with King George III that made them want to pick up their toys and go home. The guy was always drinking the beer in the fridge, but never bought beer, apparently. He laughed at his own jokes, and was always leaving the damn toilet seat up (according to Betsy Ross). But more importantly, Jefferson crystallized the vision for a new age and a new way of looking at ourselves as humans:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Read it. Get inspired.

Luke and Maya, prior to today’s cotton candy dose.

2. Eat some cotton candy. The stuff is vile. I mean, can you believe we liked that junk as kids? I need to take an insulin shot just thinking about it! I used to smash it into little balls and chew it. The thought of it hurts my teeth. It seemed to last longer that way, but then I had sticky hands and no way to clean them. Licking them didn’t work so well cause my tongue was sticky and my hands tasted like a subway hand rail. I was a sickly child. But eat some anyway because it will prepare you for number 3.

3. Go see fireworks with a child. If you’re like me, you figure, “I’ve seen one fireworks show, I’ve seen them all.” And that’s probably true…unless you watch it through the eyes of a child. Preferably one between 1.5 and 8 years old. You’ll have more fun watching them than you’ve had at a fireworks show for a long time (not counting that one year you took a joint along). I remember taking our first daughter, Dani, to the fireworks one 4th of July when she was 2. It was 10:00, past her bedtime, and she lay quietly in the stroller not quite asleep. The show started and we tipped her back so she wouldn’t have to hold her head up, and I watched the fireworks reflected in her eyes. No “oohs” or “ahhs” from her, just quiet absorption. I have it, the secret to immortality: it’s the capacity for wonder that keeps us young. Lose it, and we’re toast.

Happy 4th, y’all. Happy Birthday, Idealism.

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Join the Discussion

  • Joe

    George W. leaves the toilet seat up?! Oh, I bet Condi Rice is unhappy about that.

  • Adam Pieniazek
    Adam Pieniazek

    The scary thing with the Declaration of Independence is replacing King George (III of the UK) with King George (II of the US). Wicked scary just how applicable all of the colonists’ gripes are to our current “leader”.

  • Joe

    Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by. I’ll try not to hold your cotton-candy-lovin’ tastes against you.

  • Sarah Lewis
    Sarah Lewis

    Man, I love cotton candy! Your subway-rail-flavored hands made me laugh, though.

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