The 4th of July is probably the best holiday of the summer. Well, I guess technically it’s the only holiday of the summer, isn’t it? I mean, you have Labor Day but that's not much fun. That’s like, “Summer’s Over Day”.
But on the 4th of July, you have the best of both worlds when it comes to celebration.
Of course they don’t call it Independence Day for nothing. It marks our independence from Great Britain. We’re thankful for that, defeating the British. And that was no small task you know. The British military was pretty tough for its time but a bunch of guys without much in the way of uniforms and largely outgunned who were fed up with them kicked their derrieres anyway.
So you have that.
But in the here-and-now, you also have half a summer still to come and you’re at a party right in the middle of it. And it’s usually a damn fine party too, when the weather cooperates. A hot, sunny 4th of July picnic? What’s better? Nothing I can think of. Why is that do you suppose? I think it’s because it’s the one holiday of the year that is a big sensory overload.
Oh sure, Christmas you have twinkling lights and the smell of pine trees and egg nog. Halloween, candy and leaves. But I don’t think there’s any holiday that has the impact on our senses like the 4th of July.
And it’s a sticky, humid swirling mass of smells, isn’t it? Sulfur, beer, Neosporin, chlorine, burnt meat, suntan lotion, a busy bathroom.
And the sounds. The sizzling, the splashing, the explosions, the laughter, Shania Twain, the sirens.
And we love to see those explosions, don’t we? Sparkling shiny bursts in the dark night sky? It’s an almost hypnotic visual stimulus.
And then there’s the the sun on your skin, a cool drink in your hand, a 1500 degree sparkler stuck to your forearm. And the way lotion slathered skin feels as it glides across lotion slathered skin like oysters making love in a jar of Vaseline.
And then of course, there’s taste! And we have some duplication of stimuli here taken from the other senses. We taste the beer and the chlorine and the burnt meat and even the suntan lotion if we’re lucky. And if we’re close enough, we can even taste gunpowder.
There’s no doubt about it. Every one of our senses is overloaded for the 4th of July.
My 4th of July experience will include overloading my senses at my neighbor Jimmy’s house. (His name is actually Jerry but I’ve changed it here for purposes of avoiding an intellectual property lawsuit).
I'll be at my neighbor Jimmy’s 4th of July party! Jerry, I mean Jimmy throws one heck of a b-a-s-h, bash every year.
I usually pick up a couple of pails of that El Paso mix or whatever it’s called, and throw some tequila in it and let it freeze for a couple of days and bring that to the event. It gets slushy and makes something that resembles the taste of a margarita.
Anyway, Jerry, JIMMY throws a hell of a party and it’s something lots of people look forward to every year. And the range of guests from all walks of life that show up for Jimmy’s 4th of July party is unbelievable.
Last year there was an astronaut and the guy who cuts Kiefer Sutherland’s hair.
The year before was the world’s first successful neck transplant patient.
Eddie Murphy was there! Not that Eddie Murphy, but this one is still a great party guest.
And three years ago the last guy to leave was racing legend Andy Granatelli. It’s just one heck of a shindig is what I’m getting at here.
And so as we mark this unofficial midpoint of summer, a time of year that seemed so long in coming, I’d just like to wish you a happy and safe 4th of July wherever you celebrate it. Let the sensory input wash over you and make this holiday one that you’ll remember for years to come.
And if you detect an overload of your beer sensory apparatus, or God forbid, your tequila one, try to remember to drop back a little on the gunpowder.
And here’s hoping there’s a can of Glade in the bathroom.