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Fireworks in the Fog
Raging Moderate
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Aaaah. Fourth of July. The Great American Holiday. Dead-solid-center summer. Picnics, baseball, watermelon, fifth graders flying past with red, white and blue streamers flowing from their bicycle handlebars. And ice cream. In the street. From a truck. Blaring John Philip Sousa. Where’s the bad?
It’s a party the whole country relishes celebrating. A day to forget what divides us and to concentrate on what binds us together. Hard to get bogged down in politics while watching a parade. Except for that whole “making fun of the clownish numskulls waving at us from the backs of convertibles” deal. This particular birthday festivity transcends partisanship. You don’t have to live in a red state to charcoal red meat.
Betsy Ross needed both the red and the blue to make an American flag. And not just the white. But the brown and the yellow and the mustard and the black and all the other colors of the human rainbow. Even the LGBT and the Muslim colors. And Independence Day reminds us that we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights... among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of charring the flesh of large, slow mammals while blowing stuff up real good.
Even here in San Francisco, the capital of Lefty Land, we do the patriotic barbecue/fireworks exacta so big and bad, wouldn’t be surprised to see Nathan Hale high-fiving the whole damn town. The hard part is keeping the bean spouts from slipping through the grates of the grill. And yes, a lovely roasted, sun-dried tomato and basil reduction was on the picnic table. Which some of you may know as ketchup.
When in the course of human events, some place has to be the bluest of the blue and it is here. San Francisco may be beyond blue. Post blue. We could very well be indigo. Eggplant. Aubergine. Cerulean. Periwinkle. And yes, we know the difference. But every annum on the fourth day of the seventh month, watching 4- year-olds delightedly wave their first sparkler, we share similar silly smiles with the reddest of reds. The crimson. Magenta. Cardinal. Ruby. Cherry. Puce. Dallas.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all pyrotechnic displays are not created equal. Here in the Bay Area, our fireworks are normally shrouded in fog. The whole sky turns muted pastels, but you can’t hear a thing, which is weird, because the day is designed to be loud. But this year the fog parked offshore and each and every ooh and ah of the crowd and blare of the horn in the traffic jam going home was crystal clear.
Happy 237th birthday America. Just want to say that in the right light, you don’t look a day over 195. Although sometimes you still act like you’re 137. Have a great summer everybody. Stay cool and dry and vertical. Or hot and wet and horizontal. Whichever works.
And you know that whole bipartisan celebration thing we talked about -- be nice to keep that going right through the summer into the fall and beyond, wouldn’t it? Yeah, right. Nice fantasy, Tolkien. Whatever. Just throw a couple more free-range chicken mango pimento gouda dogs on the Weber and don’t forget the sunblock, darling.
Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. Email Will at Check out for the latest podcast.