Every once in a while, current events intersect with my natural talent for stupidity to make something so dumb even I enjoy reading it. This week’s column in the Independent is one such. You may not know it, but the mall canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show last week, depriving the city of its semi-official display. Because Missoula is basically a bowl, you used to be able to see the mall fireworks show from any of the mountains and hills around town. One of my favorite summer activities was taking a blanket to High Park and watching the fireworks from within the tall grasses.1 But all that’s over now, unless we all come together in some kind of implied but not explicit plan to save the Fourth of July. You see, I know what the loss of independent spirit can do to a town.
I have always loved the Fourth of July, ever since I was a kid. In my hometown, graduating seniors used to grab a 12-pack and drink it at the municipal fireworks display, then go to the highest point we could find and throw up. Sadly, in ways none of us could have predicted, this tradition turned tragic. The annual fireworks display was canceled out of respect for the family my friend threw up and then fell on, and the mill shut down after that. Eventually, the town was disbanded.
Fireworks are illegal within Missoula city limits, so residents should definitely not buy as many class-B mortars as they can find and bring them to the mall. The assistant fire marshall has most certainly not been driven mad with power and irrational opposition to fire and its works. But still, one wonders when the centipede of liberty will wriggle from beneath the bootheel of oppression and bite, bite bite. If we are ever to climb the pants leg of freedom, we must rise up.