July 4th. It’s that time of year to get hammered and sunburned. Maybe you think about your ancestors ceding from Europe in the ultimate “Fuck you” but this most likely does not cross your mind as you down your fourth margarita in a backyard that becomes increasingly less familiar as the sun moves across the sky. Instead, it’s our opportunity to bond with our fellow man over bowls of guacamole and bean dip, burn meat on the grill, relax, and plan to forget any of this ever happened.
The aforementioned impressions of this holiday are, of course, memories from my childhood. The last two Fourths have been spent in a more sober and subdued manner. I like to think of it as putting my big toe in the waters of senior citizenship one holiday at a time.
- Drive to San Diego – 3 hours
- Dinner at Grandma’s house – Beef stew and a salad with dressing from Fresh and Easy
- Sleep on twin bed from 1963, feet hanging off the end
- Wake up with cramp in upper back
- Breakfast with the family, lunch with the family, dinner with a comedian (seriously)
- Sleep on another twin bed, also from 1963, also uncomfortable
- Wake up in agony
- Sneak breakfast – I don’t eat coffee cake
- Tour Balboa Park: treated to organ festival rehearsal and a comic book about God and venereal disease
- Grandma’s 4th of July Church picnic – the only people falling down here are over 75 and it’s because of a bad hip, not booze
- Avoid the fried chicken, potato salad, and cookies
- Fall asleep with my eyes open
- Drive over to Ocean Beach to watch the fireworks
- Attempt to not start throwing the remnants of a bean burrito at a mother and child sitting behind me on the beach. The mother’s commentary about the fireworks amounts to such intellectual and insightful observations as “It looks like a bumblebee farted!” and “It looks like a leprechaun farted!” The child has a bag of marshmallows and our group is pelted relentlessly. When I turn around to tell them off I swiftly find this was perhaps a bad idea, as the next round of mallows were pre-chewed
- As the entire beach whips out bags of marshmallows for what is apparently a pre-planned prank that we are not in on, I fear that this will erupt into riots. “This is what Kosovo must be like,” I think to myself. And then I realize how spoiled I am to live in a country where my biggest fear is getting pelted in the face by a sugar pillow. God bless America.