I was sitting on the back porch with the girls watching the sunset, and it started to rain for a brief spell. All I could think of were the hundred’s of parents sitting in the bleachers with their now wet kids, hoping upon hope the storm will pass and they will see the god damned fireworks and not have to come back and do this again in two days.
I immediately imagined the sheer hell my parents went through 30+ years ago with all four of us. It’s the fourth, so everyone is sunburnt and cranky, yet at the same time smacked up on sugar from the kool-aid, punch, soda, cake, ice cream, and popsicles from the community picnic, and that sugar high has us all running around spazzing out about fireworks. Oh, and jello salad, especially that really sticky marshmellow one with pineapple. The only people who liked jello salad more than members of the Church of Fatter Day Saints were rural West Virginians in the late 70’s and 80’s.
And we are sticky, and probably trying to sit on dad’s lap and it’s ninety degrees and he’s sweating and everything about the four kids is sticky and spastic and he’s just miserable and thinking about condoms and why he didn’t use more of them and what he really wants is a gin and tonic in a gallon container, and we are just touching everything and screaming and running around being a nuisance and all the other parent’s kids are yelling and acting just like us. Mom, always the saint, is just sitting there feeling embarrassed and trying to keep dad from going ballistic while trying to engage in niceties with the people around us, and she’s just miserable because her sun rash is out and she’s thinking thoughts that Quakers don’t normally have, and all she wants in her Morris chair and an Agatha Christie novel. It’s amazing humans so rarely kill their young.
And even if everything goes according to plan, and the fireworks do come on after a rain delay, you still have to load everyone into the car, sit for 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot while all four of us spazz out and punch each other and touch every god damned thing in the car while Seth throws up because he had cotton candy and a root beer on top of all the other crap and dad has to work in the morning, then drive home. And once you get home, everyone needs a bath, the dog has puked and pissed on the floor, and Grandma Cole left a message on the answering machine that she and our cousins are planning a visit next week-end.
I called my parents and thanked them. There is a reason I am not a breeder. I’m surprised my dad only had a heart attack at age 71. But, you know, you gotta take the kids to the fireworks. America, Fuck Yeah. We should have prozac in the water.