We consider ourselves fairly typical Americans. It was a few nights before the Fourth of July, decidedly my least favorite night of the year. We were in our living room, sitting on our asses and watching TV. Like I said, typical.
Suddenly there was a boom. I looked out the front window and billowing smoke rose from our front yard garden. It had begun.
“Those fireworks are close,” I said. “Damn close.” The shit was literally raining down right on top of us.
On July 4th itself I went outside to see what the hell was going on. I saw one of those colorful bursts like you’d see in any major fireworks display except it was directly over my house. It went off about 20-30 feet over our roof. Two things were immediately obvious: Why don’t they do this shit above their own houses? They’re too good for that! And, wow, they are really good shots. We were being targeted.
The night was hellish. More of our neighbors decided to dabble in the illegal arts. The City of Portland had been bragging about Operation: Lower The Boom. (Get it? Lower. Boom. Ha ha ha! That’s punny.) This was to be a law enforcement action to write $1,000 tickets and seize illegal fireworks. The City even made a website saying that if you saw illegal fireworks, you should call and let them know.
My wife decided to tilt those windmills. She couldn’t get through on the first try. Apparently the operation didn’t include people to answer the phones. She tried again and got a snotty man who said, “Look, lady, they’re going off all over town. We are already aware. There’s only so much we can do.”
I admit I thought it was odd that “There’s only so much we can do” was the official slogan of Operation Lower The Boom.
Why did they publish a number again? Oh yeah, they imagined it made them look good. Nice public relations move. Never mind we were never actually expected to use it. Duh.
A couple of days later and various government agencies issued media releases bragging about their accomplishments. The local stations snatched up this hard news like a dog catching a flying treat launched from a gimmicky container made in China that only an American would actually fall for. “Make a treat fly without having to go to the bother of using your arm to throw.” Sold.
The media reported the news about how many tickets had been written. Wow. Another year and Operation Lower The Boom was an unparalleled success. For everyone except us.
What do you expect? Some criminals are simply too slick to catch. It would have taken some impressive police work to drive through the neighborhood and see subtle signs like bombs bursting in air. Damn those slippery masterminds! We’ll get you next year! Even Batman himself could have done no better.
The next morning I dared to venture out my front door. It had been quiet for a while. The shelling had stopped. Perhaps both sides were honoring the cease fire, although I remained skeptical. A hellish sulfur smell assaulted my senses.
Then I noticed the debris. If the space shuttle had exploded over my house I imagine it might have looked something like this. I have cataloged only a tiny fraction. My camera only has so much memory. I’m sure that the brittle pieces of black plastic will break down and contaminate my otherwise formerly organic front yard garden.
Incidentally, this is the exact same concept as: “Does not have dogs. Front yard covered in poop.” I wrote the book on that.
Why deal with your own shit when you can push it onto someone else? Someone who wasn’t involved and Did Not Want. That must be the American dream that supplanted the trite one about home ownership.