Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Right to Exercise Intelligence

I probably wouldn't have known anything about it if Theo hadn't needed to go out.

It was 11:30 PM. I had just gone out the door with Theo on his leash. I could hear my neighbors across the way. I remember thinking that their laughter had that decided sound which you know is alcohol induced.

The next thing I remember was the loud BOOM! Then, a blaze of light in two distinct arcs which skirted my way from the next yard, one arc hitting the tops of the trees above our cars and the other arc flying under both cars and landing near the house.

I barely got out a gasp when a gaggle of three young adult women came running out of the yard and into the road. They were giggling like eighth graders who had been caught smoking in the girls' room.

Well, smoking and drinking.

One young woman fell on the street, spread eagle on her back, and yelled in a slurred voice, "Am I on fire?" which brought on paroxysms of laughter from the half dozen more men and women who came out of the yard and onto the street.

Without even thinking, I found myself yelling, "No, idiot (I may have used another word which is unsuitable for public consumption), but the trees and my car are. Get up! Get up! Get up and somebody get some water."

My next memory is something that looked like something out of a Marx Brother's movie. Suddenly, young men with buckets were throwing water on the trees and the pavement under and onto our cars. The owner of the house suddenly appeared with a garden hose, soaking down the grass, trees, both cars and the pavement.

The "woman of the house" came over to me - wreaking of beer and a little wobbly on her feet - and said, "It will be okay. They really are good, responsible kids."

I looked at her and said, "Too bad their parents aren't," and started to walk away from her and over to assess the damage.

Except for a few singed branches in the trees, and a swath of singed grass, all was well. The "man of the house" - also wreaking of beer and speaking in a voice just a tad above 'conversational level' - apologized profusely as we carefully checked both cars for evidence of any damage.

I looked at him and said - as calmly as I could and without raising my voice, "You were really, really lucky. No one got hurt, but if that rocket had gotten stuck under the low carriage of my VW Bug, there would have been an explosion. Look, there's the rocket there, next to my house. My whole house could have gone up in flames."

My words seemed to sober him up. He looked at me and said, "You're right. Oh. My. God. You are so right. I'm so sorry. So very sorry."

I'm sure he was - and, I'm sure he is feeling very sheepish this morning in addition to feeling his head pound with a hangover.  Well, I can only hope. It's pretty quiet over there this morning.

Each year
in the United States approximately 10,000 people are medically treated for fireworks-related injuries. More often than not it is the bystanders that sustain the injuries.


Males sustain about 72% of the injuries. Parts of the body most frequently injured are hands and fingers (26%), eyes (21%), and head and face (18%). More than half of the injuries involve burns (63%). Injuries are most commonly associated with fire-crackers (24%), sparklers (21%) and rockets (18%).


Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees (hot enough to melt gold) and can easily catch fire to clothing or hair.

When fireworks are placed into the hands of people who have been drinking alcohol, well, suffice it to say that the danger of mishap increases exponentially.

This is a great country where we believe in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". You do not have to pass an IQ or sobriety test in order to exercise those "inalienable rights".

Watching fireworks can serve as a wonderful enhancer to the pursuit of the happiness of the celebration of our life and liberty in these United States.

If you know someone who will be using sparklers or fireworks tonight, please urge caution. Have a bucket of water readily available. It wouldn't hurt to have the garden hose connected and ready to rock 'n roll - just in case.

And, someone needs to be the 'designated sober person' who makes certain that no one gets hurt amidst the fun and frivolity.

Have a wonderful - and safe - Independence Day celebration everyone!

You have the absolute right to exercise your God-given intelligence.

Please do.


Anonymous said...

So, is it your years of being clergy or a mother that gives you the ability to not only remain calm and clear, but have such great lines to grab people's attention?

Well done. I hope they don't hurt anyone tonight, either.


(HA! word verification is huscle..what you have is a combination of chutzpah and muscle)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I was hardly calm but I do have some experience being around people who have had too much to drink. ;~)

janinsanfran said...

Somehow I don't think the folks conducting this church fundraiser are on the same page with you.

But I guess that's probably true in a lot of ways.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Selling fireworks as a church fundraiser? Just when you think you've seen it all . . . .

Paul said...

Because I got home late I was watering my garden around 9:30 last night in my suburban neighborhood (in dry, fire-stricken New Mexico). I realized it felt good to have a hose in my hand as I watched the fireworks going off all over my neighborhood, some soaring far too close to my air space.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Fireworks in NM? YIKES!!!!

Elaine C. said...

and the dog who needed to go out and has a few fears -- did the doggy get scared too?

whiteycat said...

I guess there is no shortage of stupidity these days!

Muthah+ said...

Sistah, you have lived too long in the city and the 'burbs, hija.

We heard not a bang or saw nary a sparkle last night. It was all on TV. Way too dry here.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Elaine - Oh, yes.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whitecat - It's frightening, isn't it?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Muthah+ Actually, I live out in the rural part of the state of DE. There ain't no paucity of stoopid anywhere in the country.

Paul said...

The governor of New Mexico pleaded with the public to avoid private fireworks this year. The law prohibits local communities from banning them (this will be revisited in the Fall) but 3-4 major chains pulled the fireworks from their stores and some shut down the private sales in their parking lots. With drought at record levels, the national forest and the Albuquerque open spaces are closed to the public. The first and second largest wildfires in New Mexico history are still burning tonight.

Not everyone got the message, but the rest of us are taking this very seriously.

(Another Paul in New Mexico)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The "other Paul in NM" - You know, I just don't understand whatever thinking goes on about lighting fireworks while the forest is on fire. Laughing in the face of danger? Not so funny when your home can be burned to the ground.

It's a bad case of stoopid, is what it is.