Hey, America! Shhhhhh!!! Can you please keep it down? I get it’s your birthday. But c’mon, you’re 241 years old! Aren’t you a bit old for all of this? I’m considerably younger than you and even I don’t like to dwell on my own birthday, let alone celebrate it with a drunken firework stupor. If I ever make it to my 241th birthday, I’d just want a day of peace and quiet…and maybe a slice of pineapple upside-down cake too.
Yet I suppose 241 in country years is around just 35 in human years. So I get it. Really, I do. But as an introverted American, I can’t help but cringe at the sensory overload the day creates. May I propose an alternative, quieter way to celebrate?
Just To Be Clear, I ❤ America
I’m tired of having to hide my scorn for loud July 4th festivities lest my patriotism gets questioned. So before anyone starts calling me “comrade” or “Benedict Arnold” for besmirching July 4th, let me share just a few of my American bona fides:
1. I love patriotic movie quotes. To be sure, my favorite movie quote of all time comes from the patriotic zenith of a film ensconced in Americana: “Air Force One.” Take note septuagenarian presidential candidates, to earn my vote, I expect the president to successfully kick a terrorist off an Air Force One flying 20,000 feet in the air, all whilst delivering the rousing one-liner “Get Off My Plane!” Harrison Ford accomplished this feat unto Gary Oldman beautifully. An American pulverizing a Soviet terrorist played by a British actor? I’d say that is 1776 out of 1776 on the Patriot scale.
2. I believe in American Exceptionalism. The United States is the greatest country in the world, which puts it in the running for the greatest in the Universe. Lady Liberty will always be my winner for the Miss Universe pageant. Enough said.
Now that my pro-America credentials are fully inspected, here are my quiet gripes…
Introvert’s Complaint 1: Fireworks Are Deadly Annoying
Yeah, I know fire works. Cavemen proved it. My gas stove proved it. Even the back hoof of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow proved it. I don’t need any more proof points on the fire hypothesis. It has been confirmed for me, 100 percent.
Yet here we are with the oxymoron (emphasis on the moron) that is fireworks. These critters of annoyance and danger should really be called “fireworks-hurt-my-ears” or “fireworks-blow-off-my-fingers.” A New York Times exposé on July 4th fireworks sheds light on the day’s dangers from over 100 years back:
[The American Medical Association] documented more than 1,500 deaths and more than 33,000 injuries connected to the holiday from 1903 to 1910, according to news reports of the time.
Injuries and accidents became so common that newspapers described their absence as “wonderfully rare,” or “contrary to the usual order of things.” A holiday with few accidents was noted for being “unusually quiet.”
Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission devotes time and energy to warn about July 4th as “the deadliest time of the year.”
I do not recall any of my birthdays requiring such public service announcements. The only sin ever committed on my birthday is that of cake gluttony.
Introvert’s July 4th Alternative 1: Just one word — Bose
Or Beats by Dre…or ear plugs…or channel your inner Founding Father and use beeswax. The Star-Spangled Banner proclaims “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” but from the confines of your own home, you can put the kibosh on that bursting through noise-cancelling headphones. I find patriotism, like getting older, is a contemplative experience. Spend July 4th with your thoughts. Your ears and limbs will thank you.
Introvert’s Complaint 2: Too Much Kissing For America
The fireworks certainly go off on July 4th…and I don’t mean just the explosive kind. Patriotism can sure stir up the romance. There are seven types of love, but is patriotism-induced-love one of them? Tinder is asunder with July 4th pleas for love, and you’d have to be a cold-hearted heretic to swipe left on America.
I even almost had my first kiss under the fireworks of July 4th. But any sparks were extinguished from my jumpiness around the booming fireworks and the distracting ooh-ing and aah-ing. Instead, a quiet museum was the location for where I first locked lips (told you I was an introvert).
Introvert’s July 4th Alternative 2: Kiss your furry feller
Your pet may not understand the significance of July 4th, America, or democracy, but neither does your pet care about Tinder, one-night flings, or defying societal expectations. Share a nice cuddle with your four-pawed friend. Your patriotism and self-respect will be better for it.
Introvert’s Complaint 3: Red, White, And Blue? A Fashion No-No On All Days But One
If I wear gray on July 4th, I’m chastised. Black? Booed. Dare I don clothes of the olive hue? I’m labeled a communist.
July 4th enforces a strict red, white, and blue dress code. Shirts, crop tops, tanks, rompers, pants, socks…all external facing clothes must resemble our nation’s flag.
But why on all other days does wearing red, white, and blue get me stares? The day I wore my oxblood red shirt to work? My colleagues thought I was dressed to go out to a salsa dance club.
Essentially, July 4th-wear lays idle 364 days a year in a closet, collecting dust and inevitably becoming too small for any shapely changes my body may have made in the past year. Either buy new gear or suck in that gut.
Introvert’s July 4th Alternative 3: Wear USA underwear
I’ll wear my USA boxers. This is evergreen content that can be worn year-round. And isn’t a true patriot one who does not have to outwardly prove his or her patriotism to others? Get comfortable introverts with your undies. While the extroverts of the United States may tsk and tut from your lack of external patriotism, take pride in knowing that you’re silently supporting America and that America is supporting you…in more ways than one.
My Ideal July 4th
So to both introverts and extroverts, have a happy and safe July 4th. Celebrate and express your patriotism in the way that best fits you. What will I be doing this 4th? A White House cookie awaits. God Bless America. Oh, and keep it down!