Friday, July 10, 2009

Idiots, Explosives and Falling Anvils

Well, another Independence Day has come and gone and we managed to maintain the emergency room trip-less holiday record for another year. We had the usual gathering of the clan and assorted others at my parents' house in St. Paul, lots of food (the Rice Krispie treats made it all the way into the kitchen this year) plenty of beverage and of course, the main dish of explosives. Unfortunately, the thirty year quest to blow the manhole cover off the storm sewer is still unfulfilled. Manhole: 1,627 Commercially available fireworks: 0. We'll get 'em next year. St. Thomas University security was Johnny on the spot this year. The showed up less than a minute after the first wad of firecrackers went impressive response time, I must say. I think the St. Paul cops have simply decided to give up the battle, as they were no shows for the first time ever. I have to admit a bit of disappointment at their absence, a bit of the tradition of the holiday has died.
The adults at the gathering have decided we MUST stop reproducing, as we are now nearly outnumbered by the under 20 set and they will soon overpower us and take all the bottle rockets. On the up side, the majority of them are minors so if the cops decide to get cranky, we'd be in okay shape. The brain trust (my son Andrew, his cousin Casey and Casey's buddy Adam as well as assorted others) decided that "Roman Candle Baseball" is going to be the next big spectator sport. Watch out NASCAR. I'm guessing the name of the event tells one everything they need to know but let me provide the visual. A 15 year old and two 19 year olds are tired of ricocheting the balls of fire off the nearby stop sign and are looking for the next great idea. The younger kids return from the impromptu softball game across the street and an aluminum bat is spotted by the innovators. Hmmm, what do you think would happen if....? Needless to say, this is question that begs to be answered. Several whiff swings and only a few actual contacts with the flaming balls that produced an impressive and alarming number of tiny flaming balls later, the game is called to a halt by someone with more respect for life than this bunch.
The trio then set themselves to the task of scraping the silver stuff of as many sparklers they could lay their pyromanical mitts on. I have no idea of the actual number, but enough to fill a large sized tuna can. Can now filled, it must be covered with duct tape (why? because everything's better with duct tape!) and a makeshift fuse inserted in the top. We now have a hockey puck sized, duct tape ensconced can of thermite-like material ready for ignition. This can only end well. As it turns out, the silver stuff from many many sparklers, in a can wrapped in duct tape will burn with the light of a thousand suns and actually melt the cobblestones that make up the street in front of my parents house.
And tell me again why the cops DON'T think we're a threat?