Quiet Desperation

Expect annual boom in lowbrow behavior


It doesn’t hurt to ask, but I know what you’re going to say.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Fourth of July came and went without any residential explosions?

They’re illegal. They’re annoying. They’re inconsiderate.

They negatively impact those who experience PTSD, those with pets (especially dogs), and those, like me, who consider them a juvenile form of entertainment.

“Look, it blowed up.”

It goes on every year because we’re entitled to do as we please, no matter how it might affect others.

Americans are not widely known for being considerate. We take spray paint into national parks.

Earlier this year, Delaware resident Michael Rohana was accused of breaking off a terracotta warrior’s thumb at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute.

On the way back to Delaware, Rohana allegedly bragged about sneaking into the exhibition and stealing the thumb.

If you don’t consider either of those a big deal, please move on to another column.

Wouldn’t it be much nicer if everyone celebrated July Fourth with backyard gatherings that maximized conversation and minimized skyrockets and mortar shells?

Nah. When it comes to the Fourth, silence isn’t golden. Far from it.

“It’s a tradition,” I’m told over and over.

So is hazing.

Hazing will never end as long as there are fraternities somewhere. Boys will be boys, you say? Ask your son who went through it.

I am a wet blanket. A spoilsport. No doubt about it. Maybe I was raised wrong. I guess if something I were to do might bother someone, I wouldn’t do it.

That’s why I don’t mow my lawn at midnight, even though I am always up, and there’s plenty of lamp light.

My neighborhood sounds like a war zone on the Fourth. Then, late, it goes quiet. Have there been times when I wanted to get out the mower?

Absolutely. But, like I said, I was raised wrong.

My father always said, “Be considerate of others.”

It’s a lost cause. I heard a cell phone ring in church one day.

I heard a cell phone ring in an art museum one day.

If you don’t consider either of those a big deal, please move on to another column.

I would leave the country and take the dog with me, throughout July — if I had the money. Then I wouldn’t know or care what anyone around here might do.

Oh, I’d read about it, just like I do every year. Someone always gets killed or maimed. Of course, there are risks everywhere. I was at Altamont, hoping to hear the Jefferson Airplane. Or, as I said later, “I went to a riot and a concert broke out.”

I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July. At least not with a pack of matches.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with hamburgers and hot dogs and a vivid discussion about the moisture they found on Mars. I can hear the crickets, and your one word: “Boring.”

Fireworks bore me. They are tedious and repetitious. They haven’t changed since I was a kid, and offer me no amusement.

I’m not certain which is worse: Fourth of July fireworks or Christmas music in November.

I can avoid one (to an extent) but not the other.

When the Criblecoblis family down the street sets off a rocket, the harsh noise it makes is as much mine as it is theirs.

And they don’t care.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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